“Where is democracy” for Chinese churches?
Barnabas Fund, 30 June 2020
“Where is democracy?” a Christian in China asked after two communist party-approved candidates were foisted on their church committee.
Four deacons presented a written complaint against two candidates put forward by the local United Front Work Department when it confirmed its candidates on their church committee, effectively handing control of church activities to the government.
The new Template for Religious Activity Venues demands that all such venues establish a “democratic management committee” with “clergy members, representatives of religious citizens, and other relevant members”.
A clergy member from a church in Shandong province lamented, “If we don’t follow the Template, our church will be shut down.”
In Henan, a communist-party-supporting preacher was appointed director by government officials in December 2019 because he fulfilled the criteria of “proactive cooperation with the government”.
The continuing crackdown in China has seen hundreds of “house churches” and official churches shut down, with violent police raids, thousands of arrests and detentions, imprisonment of pastors and forced installation of surveillance cameras inside some churches.