Religious activities banned by China in hospitals in Zhejiang province

The Chinese government has banned all kinds of religious activity in hospitals in the eastern province of Zhejiang. In what is considered to be the latest crackdown against Christianity, pastors can no longer visit the hospital to preach and pray for the sick.

Reports have indicated that the Communist Party of China is becoming wearier of the growth and expansion of Christianity in China, particularly in the city of Wenzhou in Zhejiang, which is dubbed "China's Jerusalem." The city holds a relatively high concentration of Christians. 

(Reuters/Lang lang)A local resident rides a bicycle past a church in Xiaoshan, a commercial suburb of Hangzhou, the capital of China's east Zhejiang province.

In Wenzhou's Central Hospital, a public notice was announced to the patients and their visitors. "Religious activities are banned in this hospital," the notice read.

However, some of the people still choose to participate in religious activities in the Central Hospital, which historically was established as a protestant hospital. 

"Religious activities in hospitals have never been encouraged ... but some people have been doing it on the quiet, which is understandable, seeing that we are all here to support patients," an employee from the hospital said, according to Radio Free Asia.

A pastor from Guangzhou decried the notice and expressed that it reflects how the state is increasingly interfering with the religious freedom of the Chinese people. 

"They are interfering with people's religious beliefs, which is against the constitution ... because Chinese citizens should have the freedom to choose their religion, or to have no religion," Pastor Ma Ke said.

In 2014, authorities in Zhejiang started to remove crosses from buildings. When two pastors protested against the destruction, they were sentenced to 12 and 14 years in prison. At present, multiple human rights lawyers have been working to defend the churches and their leaders who have been arrested.