A joint prayer network in Beijing has been shut down by the Chinese state authorities. The Beijing Ministerial Joint Prayer Network (BMJPN) was founded in 2004 by Pastor Jin Mingri, out of one of the largest house churches in the capital, Shouwang Church.
Pastor Mingri became known for gathering pastors together and praying to revival in his highly persecuted nation. International Christian Concern reports that while the network was based in Beijing, pastors from all over the country were involved in the movement. Now, after being ordered to cease its operations, ICC says that many pastors who are part of the network have been summoned to local religious affairs bureau for interrogation.
"They informed the pastors that BMJPN has not registered with the government, so its activities are considered “illegal religious activities.," ICC noted in its report, adding that officials told the pastors "they should be banned from preaching online.. and dismiss their churches".
Many pastors are reporting that the Chinese stated tightened its grip on house churches during the pandemic, as congregations broke out into smaller online groups.
ICC noted: "It first used the excuse of COVID-19 to stop in-person gathering, now not only does it pressure the church to stay closed also starts to clamp down on online service and gathering, such as the prayer meetings held by BMJPN."
China remains one of the most hostile places on earth in which to live as a Christian, with Open Doors ranking ranks it at 23 on its World Watch List.
"The goal of the Communist Party of China, led by President Xi Jinping, is to maintain its power through national unity – including the control of all religions," Open Doors notes on its country fact sheet. "Since the Communist Party took over the implementation of the regulations on religion, the treatment of religious groups has become much harsher. Christians are a particular focus because they are the largest social force in China that isn’t controlled by the state."