Guangfu Church in Guangzhou, a southern city in China, has recently experienced much opposition from the authorities. This unregistered mega-church scatters its 1,000 members into many different meeting points. In May, one of these meeting points was interrupted by the authorities several times. The church dares to advocate for themselves and to fight for the rights of continuing their church meetings.
The Chinese government can’t simply close the door to the church because it has been increasing its capacity and daring to seek their rights. The government feels pressure to maintain its open-minded image on the international platform.
On June 1, 2015, a prayer letter from Guangfu Church was widely distributed to local Christians, lawyers and church groups from overseas including USA, Singapore, HK, Malaysia and Taiwan.
An Open Doors China staff member interviewed some church leaders in Guangzhou to understand the situation.
“This incident may have been triggered by a recent big event of Guangfu Church. A couple months ago, Guangfu Church planned to organize a big event of almost 1,000 people in a hotel. Eventually, the hotel refused to provide the venue for them, probably due to pressure from the authorities. It is suspected that this big event crossed the line of the government. After all, the government dislikes Christian activities of high profile.”
“Ma Zhao, the leader of Guangfu Church, has been courageous in filing a court case to fight for the rights of church meetings. If he wins the lawsuit, this would be a preceding case to support the civil rights to conduct unregistered church meetings. If he fails, it will not negatively affect Chinese churches. The government would begin to recognize the church as being brave enough to advocate for themselves.”
“I invite brothers and sisters to join us in prayer for Guangfu Church and other Chinese churches. We don’t ask God to take away restrictions from them. We pray that the church would grow in spiritual wisdom and courage so they might stand strong against threats. We pray that they will have an impact on the global church.”
*Names changed for security reasons
China is ranked #29 on the Open Doors’ 2015 World Watch List of the 50 worst persecutors of Christians.
Compiled by Janelle Powers. For media inquiries, contact Christine Cape at 404-545-0085 or Christy Lynn Wilson at 770-401-9842.