State authorities in China forced a Guangdong house church to move out after the landlady succumbed to pressure and prematurely terminated the church's contract.
According to China Aid, an elder from the Guangfu Church in the southern Guangdong province identified only as Paul spoke in an interview June 16 to confirm that the church closed down after police dropped by with the pretense of looking into their building permit. However, the police also looked into the church's fire hydrant and declared it inadequate and below safety standards. They also accused the church of failing to register with the government.
In addition to closing down the church building, authorities also told Ma "Mark" Chao, who's in charge of the church and had previous altercations with authorities, to refrain from any church-related activities.
Members of Guangfu Church eventually decided to move out of the building they rented after officials pressured the building's landlady to terminate their contract eight years in advance.
The church's closure is only one of the latest in the government's attempt to clamp down on Christian churches. According to an earlier report by China Aid, pastors who attended this year's "National Work Conference on Religions" engaged largely in discussions about how to deal with the ongoing church persecution by the Communist state.
One pastor shared his opinion that the crackdown on churches in Guangdong and Shenzhen provinces is only the initial measure.
"They are likely to work [their way inward] from the coastal areas," the pastor who spoke in anonymity told China Aid. "Our remote regions are very hard for them to reach. At the very least, they will try to win over the majority ... They certainly would start in the areas where the churches are most active, such as Shenzhen, Guangdong and Dongguan. They want to carry out a trial run in which they first seize a portion of the region."