"The churches are closed and the communities dissolved". This repression precedes the new regulations governing religious practice and which should come into force on February 1, 2018. The authorities have not provided clear reasons to justify these new measures.
LAuthorities in three provinces in northeast China have expelled hundreds of South Korean clerics and closed their churches in the past year. These expulsions resulted in the dissolution of most South Korean religious communities. In Changchun, the capital of Jilin province, all South Korean churches were closed in early October 2017.
In the period of December 2016 and January 2017 alone, at least 32 Protestant missionaries were deported to South Korea from northeast China. They were involved in evangelism and helping North Korean refugees cope with the dangerous crossing of the Yalu River, which separates China from North Korea.
The State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) announced the new regulations on religious activities last month. According to Asia News, their objective would be "to annihilate the underground Chinese Christian communities, to suffocate the official communities, and to prevent the external missions". Strict conditions will also be imposed on foreign religious personnel.
Image Credit: Flickr-CC / Chris Junker
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