A court in China’s southern Fujian province has summoned a house church preacher and his wife for not sending their children to public school, choosing instead to homeschool them.
The pastor, You Guanda of Dianqian Church in Xiamen city, and his wife are scheduled to appear in court Sept. 23. According to Christian Concern, local government officials have charged the couple with “custody disputes.”
The Dianqian Church has long been a target of the Chinese government. Last summer, for example, communist authorities disbanded the church’s worship facility after the pastor and other members purchased new space for homeschooling, worship, and residence, The Christian Post reported. It was demolished earlier this year.
News of the crackdown on the preacher comes as the Chinese government is placing deeply restrictive rules over churches seeking to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic.
As Faithwire previously reported, any of the congregations within the government’s approved network of churches planning to resume services must meet a 42-item list of prerequisites.
Included in that list are orders to “intensify patriotic education” and “study China’s religious policy.” Reopening churches are also compelled to promote the so-called “four requirements” campaign that began in 2018 as part of the government’s “sinicization” of religion, in which non-Chinese cultures are mandated to assimilate to Chinese influence.
Bitter Winter, a magazine covering religious liberty issues in China, defined the “four requirements” like this: “ritually raising the national flag, often while singing the national anthem; teaching beliefs about, and promoting, the Chinese constitution, laws, and regulations; preaching and promoting the ‘core socialist values’; and promoting ‘China’s excellent traditional culture.’”