Freedom of religion is supposedly guaranteed in China. However, Beijing’s leaders are deeply suspicious of any organization which does not come under its rigid controls.
Many of China’s 60 million Christians refuse to join the churches that are sanctioned by the Communist Party and instead choose to worship at independent churches, sometimes known as house churches.
A huge church purportedly built with almost £2 million raised from local worshipers in one of China’s poorest regions has been demolished by authorities, the latest flashpoint between religious groups and the officially atheist Communist Party.
The Golden Lampstand Church in the city of Linfen in the northern Shanxi province was destroyed with dynamite and heavy machinery, witnesses and overseas campaign groups said.
Chinese state media dismissed the demolition as part of routine removal of illegal buildings, but critics fear a more political motivation.
Officials have removed crosses from more than 1,200 churches in the eastern province of Zhejiang since early 2014. Many other churches have been demolished in the province.
Russia has placed the Jehovah’s Witnesses on its register of banned “extremist” organizations.
The Christian sect’s administrative center near St Petersburg and 395 local organizations were added to the list by the justice ministry on Thursday.
Believers can now be charged for proselytizing or gathering together.
In April , Russia’s Supreme Court decided in favor of the justice ministry’s characterization of members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses as posing “a threat to the rights of the citizens, public order and public security.”
The denomination’s properties, known as Kingdom Halls, will also be seized by the state. The Independent, August 22, 2017
The Lord has shown us how to prepare for the time when these freedoms are taken away. “As religious aggression subverts the liberties of our nation, those who would stand for freedom of conscience will be placed in unfavorable positions. For their own sake, they should, while they have the opportunity, become intelligent in regard to disease, its causes, prevention, and cure. All those who do this will find a field of labor anywhere. There will be suffering ones, plenty of them, who will need help, not only among those of our own faith, but largely among those who know not the truth. The shortness of time demands an energy that has not been aroused among those who claim to believe the present truth.” Counsels on Health, 506.