China Has Imprisoned the Pastor of Its Largest Official Church

"He had been vocal in his opposition to the government’s destruction of crosses atop church buildings in China’s Christian-dominated eastern province of Zhejiang, a campaign that began in 2014." TIME

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Bert Perry's picture

....since a pastor of an official "Three Self" church must promise some degree of fidelity to the government and the Communist Party.  Perhaps the lid is coming off as the Chinese people want more freedom?

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Andrew K's picture

"Some degree" is the key phrase. In practice,Three-Self churches and church leaders can enjoy a great deal of autonomy. Enforcement of rules--even the rules in the books--within China is often left to the local level where attitudes toward official and even house churches varies widely. As a rule of thumb, the economically advantaged regions of the South and East generally enjoy more freedoms. That's why the whole Wenzhou situation caught everyone so off-guard. The local govt. not only had not discouraged churches from building build and erecting crosses, they'd actually been encouraging it. The sudden about volte-face was as unexpected as it was cruel. Such, however, is a common Chinese tactic for consolidating power by fomenting uncertainty and fear.