(ChurchLeaders) Chinese authorities have fined a man nearly $25,000 for holding a Christmas celebration where around 40 people prayed and sang hymns. Niu Guobao received the fine, as well as a summons to a hearing, on Jan. 19, one month after he had organized the gathering.
“Little did Niu realize that he was committing a number of crimes at the same time, and the penalty will be huge,” reported religious liberty magazine Bitter Winter. The Christmas gathering, at which approximately 20 children were present, was held in Huang Zhang Liang village in Lushan County, Henan province. The fine was 160,000 yuan, or $24,760 USD—an “astronomical sum for a villager.”