Stella wrote the following note for this Blog (She agreed that I could post this publicly):
A note from a Chinese who grew up in a Christian family in China: To be more precise, the 'underground' church in China is actually called 'house church', cos they are located in people's houses instead of public locations.
They are churches not registered in Communist government, but 'have not officially been outlawed'. Due to the 'fears of a center of popular mobilization outside the control of the Communist Party of China', Chinese government tries to control their numbers.
I’ve heard that when a house church goes beyond 30 people, government will interrupt with dismiss or fine or even persecution. But I can’t find the official proof for the specific number.
Actually the restriction varies in different provinces. For the open cities along the coast, there are no specific numbers to restrict the house church; while more severe restriction for inland cities.
My hometown is one of the open cities by the east coast of China, where the house church sometimes goes to over 100 people, but still without government interruption as long as they are not doing anything obviously threatening government, such as preaching something anti-government.
I do agree that the way house church splits might result in the faster growth, which is sort of like 'cell division' type of growth, the size might be small, but the growing is speedy. To quote a Chinese saying ---" a single spark can burn out the whole forest" :)
I then asked Stella if she felt unsafe in church in China. Here is her answer:
While I was growing up, I didn't feel anything unsafe because of my religion. But I was used to going to THREE SELF CHURCH mostly, sometimes going to house church as well. I just follow where my parents go.
My sister is currently in a house church, the one I mentioned in your blog which has over 100 people. I went with her to the Sunday service twice while I was in China last month. I didn't feel anything unsafe at all. It was in the pastor's house. Normally if you would like to open your own house for a public gathering, no matter for what purpose, you are supposed to register in the government. They did so, but government doesn't want them to register, instead they want them to go under the Three-Self church. They don't want to do so, cos they don't agree with the way how Three-Self operates. So the government just let it be without taking any action to interrupt. but I guess maybe they will keep an eye on it.
I guess if anyone wants to ask any questions, Stella may be able to answer! Pray for our brothers and sisters in China.