04/21/2019 China (International Christian Concern) – The Chinese government is hiring citizens to monitor churches and their activities by offering these informants stipends, according to Chinese Christians.
According to China Aid, a church elder from Kaifeng, Henan, said officials in his area recruit one person from each village to spy on churches, providing them 300 yuan ($44.72 USD). In Kaifeng, impoverished households are usually eligible for a 60 yuan ($8.94 USD) monthly government stipend.
The elder also said the spies are supposed to report Christians who take their minors to church. Chinese minors are barred from entering religious venues and may not be taught religions, though authorities often did not reinforce this rule until after the revised religious regulations were published last year.
Last April, Henan’s provincial religious affairs bureau said the new regulations should be thoroughly implemented, so they are now banning children from going to church and prohibit churches from organizing activities for minors.
Xu, another pastor from Henan, said signs forbidding children from coming to church have been displayed on in many state-sanctioned Three Self churches.
“By doing so, the government wants to control the development of churches,” Xu said. “By now, the government has already demolished several thousand crosses. Now, they are not satisfied with small gains and are more and more savage. They have stipulated that [Christian] home gatherings should not exceed five people,” he added.