In China, Churches Challenge the Rules – Maureen Fan
A new breed of churches in this region of China has demonstrated a boldness and independence unmatched elsewhere in the country, despite strict government guidelines for places of worship.
Here in Wenzhou and the surrounding province of Zhejiang, just south of Shanghai, a growing number of congregations that began life as house churches — unauthorized places of worship set up in private, often dilapidated homes — have recently registered with the government, while continuing to spurn the rules of the official Protestant church in China. Like so many institutions in China, these churches now hover in a sort of legal netherworld.
The official church, known as the Three-Self Patriotic Movement(‰∏≠ÂõΩÂü∫Áù£Êïô‰∏âËá™Áà±ÂõΩËøêÂä®ÂßîÂëò‰ºö), was founded in the 1950s to free religious Chinese from foreign funds and influence. Its name is derived from the principles of self-governance, self-support and self-propagation of the Gospel. [Full Text]
Related article of “Freedom of religion in China” from Association for Asia Research