Image for Representation: rfa.org
BEIJING: Authorities in China have warned members of Christian churches not to hold public gatherings to celebrate Christmas.
According to international media reports, church members said that they were warned by the police to refrain from holding public gatherings to celebrate Christmas.
“We have been warned against meeting in public as because those meetings have been designated illegal gatherings,” a Shandong pastor said insisting anonymity.
Preferring himself to be John, he said that the ban has appeared to apply to churches resisting to join the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s approved Three-Self Patriotic Association.
“It has become very difficult for us to celebrate Christmas this year,” he said.
Likewise, a pastor of a house church in Sichuan called Li said that his church was under a similar ban.
“Authorities have not allowed us to celebrate Christmas here,” said Li, whose church has over 1,000 members.
Similarly, a member of a house church in Nanyang of Henan province complained that his church was visited on Sunday by officials from the local bureau of religious affairs.
According to him, the church has been closed now. “We are, therefore, holding smaller gatherings in people’s homes,” he added.
Meanwhile, the authorities have also put a ban on decoration on the occasion of Christmas.
Meanwhile, China’s State Administration of Religious Affairs has asked churches in major cities to issue tickets for official Christmas services as well as to limit the number of participants. (Agencies)