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World Watch Monitor
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Chinese churches screening visitors as police raids increase

by Tola Mbakwe

The crackdown on Christianity in China has triggered local authorities to be especially wary of large and high-profile churches. 

It's been reported that authorities have closed churches in commercial venues and an increasing amount of landlords have refused to continue rental contracts.

A local source in the city of Guangzhou told World Watch Monitor that authorities are "trying to stir up the larger more influential churches to see what reaction they will get from the people".

The source added that "churches have become more careful in whom they allow in" and "newcomers are first questioned by the pastor". 

The worsening persecution has also caused congregations to split up into house churches.  However, house church leaders have also complained about harassment and discrimination too. 

Thirty-four house churches in Beijing issued a joint statement this week to the Chinese Communist Party to respect their freedom of religion. 

The statement said: "The normal religious lives of believers have been violated and obstructed, causing serious emotional harm and damage to their sense of patriotism, as well as causing social conflict. 

"The belief that religious believers are some kind of dissenting force, to be managed and rectified, or a target for containment or direct attack, is misguided, and a fundamental error."

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