Prayer Meetings Banned during Games

Monday, November 22, 2010

by Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent

HONG KONG, China (Worthy News)-- Chinese officials in Guangzhou have banned "house churches" from holding services while the city prepares to host the 16th Asian Games.

Local congregations were warned not to meet during Nov. 12-27, according to lawyer and house church member Tang Jingling.

"(Officials) have been seeking out the pastors of these groups and ordering them to stop holding meetings," said Tang.

But house churches don't really pose a security threat, according to Wang Dao, pastor of the Guangzhou Liangren church.

"There isn't an issue with security," he said. "I think it's just an excuse, so they can undertake a total crackdown and cleanup of house churches."

Officially atheist, Chinese officials scrutinize any faith-based activity; party officials officially oversee Catholics, Buddhists, Taoists, Muslims, and Protestants.