The Lantern on Church and State
Four ChinaSource Publications
This past month, there have been two stories of particular interest and relevance to Christians in China and to foreigners who serve there. One was the announcement by the authorities in Zhejiang Province of a draft regulation limiting the size of church buildings and the size and placement of crosses on churches. The second was the central government's publication of a draft Foreign NGO Management Law, which would govern how foreign NGOs can operate in China. If enacted as proposed, each of these could have far-reaching consequences to both the local and foreign Christian communities in China.
As we post this issue of The Lantern, China’s top leaders have just concluded their annual Party plenum in Beijing. During this “Fourth Plenum” they gave shape to policies that will be endorsed by China’s legislature, the National People’s Congress, in the spring.
Last week, word started circulating in the western press of a church in Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province that was surrounded by parishioners protecting it from a demolition crew.
Persecution in China a lightning rod for pundits of every persuasion and a topic of vital importance to Christians who grieve for the sufferings of their brothers and sisters. A recent report by China Aid citing an increased number of incidents of persecution in 2012 and claiming that the Chinese government has embarked on a planned effort to eradicate the house churches in China by 2025 is being widely reported in the news. Headlines such as "How China Plans to Wipe Out House Churches" are grabbing attention and painting a bleak picture for China's Christians.