|Guangzhou is located in southern China.|
Local pastors and their congregations were warned not to meet during the games, which end November 27, according to rights lawyer and Protestant house church member Tang Jingling. Tang said that the authorities sought out pastors and ordered them to stop holding meetings. Some of the groups responded by splitting up into much smaller groups and meeting at ever-changing locations.
The ban—that extends to all house churches in the entire Pearl River Delta region—is likely to remain in effect until January.
ChinaAid says that China’s unregistered churches are under constant fire from the government for operating outside officially sanctioned religious activities.
An atheist country, China has an army of officials whose job is to watch over faith-based activities, says ChinaAid. Those activities have spread rapidly in the wake of massive social change and economic uncertainty since economic reforms began 30 years ago. Party officials are put in charge of Catholics, Buddhists, Taoists, Muslims and Protestants. Judaism isn't recognized, and worship in unapproved temples, churches or mosques is against the law.
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