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China bans one of the largest underground churches in Beijing

by Tola Mbakwe

According to Bob Fu, religious freedom activist and founder of China Aid, Zion Church was banned on Sunday after government officers barged into a worship service and confiscated "illegal promotional materials."

The church, which has been operating for ten years, met in a renovated hall in north Beijing, according to Reuters. 

However, after the church turned down request from government authorities to install television cameras in the building in April, the church has been threatened with eviction. 

It's been reported that Beijing Chaoyang district civil affairs bureau said Zion Church was breaking rules by having mass gatherings in an unregistered church.
"I fear that there is no way for us to resolve this issue with the authorities," Zion's Pastor Jin Mingri told Reuters.
The authorities gave Zion Church members information about government sanctioned churches they could attend instead.
However many Christians in China, including Pastor Mingri, believe being forced to attend a church that's under the authority of the Communist Party is a violation of their freedom of religion.
This incident comes as the Communist Party has begun burning Bibles in Henan.

China Aid said another church in the province is being harassed by government officials. Officers have been confiscating the church's property daily in efforts to have it closed down. 

In July more than 30 of Beijing's Protestant churches released a joint statement condemning the persecution of underground churches after new laws came into effect in February giving unregistered churches harsher punishments.

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