China: House churches must register

Government wants an accurate tally of Christians
The Chinese government’s new head of religious affairs has downplayed the role of house churches during his first official visit to Hong Kong, saying they must be registered with the government for their own protection.

Wang Zuoan, the head of China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs, met Hong Kong Protestant leaders at a Lutheran church on March 27.

Wang said some house churches do not register because pastors do not want to report their income to the state. Others set up house churches after they split from another church over conflict. In other cases, he said, a house church can spring up due to a theological disagreement.


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