Prayer and religion banned in Chinese hospitals

By Heather Tomlinson for Christian Today

Hospitals in an eastern province of China have banned all kinds of religious activity, including receiving pastors, praying for the sick and preaching, in the latest crackdown on Christianity.

According to Asia News, an official Roman Catholic press agency, public hospitals have been told that "all forms of religious activity are banned". The Wenzhou Central Hospital was told to post the notice its walls, and nurses and other medical staff were told to inform patients and visitors.

Wenzhou, in Zhejiang province, has been dubbed the 'Jerusalem of China' because it has had so much missionary activity in the past, and now has around a million Christians living in the city.

"The religious activities in the hospital have never been encouraged," an unnamed employee at the hospital told the news agency. "But some prayed silently, which is understandable: on the other hand we are all here to support patients. But others made noise, reading the Bible or reciting prayers aloud. And that's not good".

Two years ago, authorities in the Zhejiang region started to remove crosses from buildings, and when two pastors protested they were sentenced to 12 and 14 years of imprisonment. Many human rights lawyers who have worked on behalf of these churches have been arrested.

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