China is reportedly persecuting a well-known pastor, fining him and his wife around $55,100 for “organizing religious activities,” according to ChinaAid, a group monitoring human rights abuses.
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“On June 28, Chinese officials enforced and doubled the fine for the well-known pastor of Xunsiding Church Yang Xibo (Yang Cibo), and his wife Wang Xiaofei (Wang Cia-o-fey),” a statement from the organization reads. “They owe a total of 400,000 yuan (~$55,100).”
The couple have reportedly attempted to fight the fine over the past two years, but, according to ChinaAid, have seen each appeal rejected.
The government reportedly banned the house church in 2019 and sent police to surround it — an event that went on for 30 days and was followed up by raids. A house church, for context, is a religious body unregistered with China’s official Catholic or Protestant denominations, as Fox News noted.
Rather than bow down to the demand from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the couple is reportedly defying the order and pledging not to pay, publicly posting their refusal on social media.
“Thank God for allowing us to have a part in His affliction, and especially thankful that on earth we have no property for the court-enforced implementation, which is definitely a great grace of God,” the couple reportedly wrote.
On July 29, 2021, the husband and wife were previously punished by the Xiamen City Bureau of Religious Affairs and charged with “organizing a gathering,” according to ChinaAid.
At the time, the fine was about $30,938.
Officials reportedly took aim at the couple and delivered a notice slamming their “organizing and holding the Xunsiding Church religious activity in the Liuhong Hall of the Pan Pacific Hotel without the approval of the National Religious Affairs Burea.”
Problems have persisted since then, though these issues aren’t new for the church.
ChinaAid noted Yang Xibo is the fourth generation to run the Xunsiding Church, with his aunt and father previously running the house of worship. They, too, faced charges and prison time for refusing to join China’s Three-Self Church, a Protestant denomination controlled by and registered with the CCP.
The church’s ongoing decision to continue operating and rebuff the government’s attempts to control and disband it purportedly precipitated the newfound fines.
The more the CCP pushed back on the church, the more it simply moved locations, according to reports.
As CBN’s Faithwire recently reported, the pastor’s plight comes after reports the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is attempting to rewrite the Bible in its own image, and officials in at least one region are testing out a new app demanding citizens pre-register before attending religious services.
Read more about these issues here.
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