The Chinese government enacted new regulations this week in a further attempt to control its growing Christian population.
The pastors of some of China’s house churches face new reporting regulations, according to VOM workers. The pastors must provide police with weekly reports detailing their whereabouts and how many people attend their church meetings. If pastors leave their city, they must report their travel plans, and they are restricted to short trips. If the pastors fail to report and police are unable to contact them, they are arrested. VOM workers say these regulations primarily target large house churches that organize under a specific name, advertise and meet publicly.
In early 2011, the Chinese government announced its goal of bringing House Church Movement (HCM) churches within the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) organization. “Since the government knows that this goal is physically impossible to achieve — the TSPM only has enough pew space every Sunday for about 20 percent of the Christians in China — we can only assume that the government’s meaning is that they will start to force the HCM churches under government authority in some manner so that [house churches] can be totally controlled by the government,” said a VOM worker.