Guangzhou is the first major city in China to offer money to anyone who informs on church activity in their neighbourhood that hasn’t got the government stamp of approval.
Gossipy neighbours could pocket up to 10,000 yuan (£1,130; $1,500; €1,320) for whispered tip-offs about “illegal religious activities”, according to regional news reports .
“This will compress the survival space of house churches. Not only will they have to deal with the official crackdown but now also the threat from their neighbours,” said Ying Fuk Tsang, director of the Divinity School at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
The biggest reward of between 5,000 and 10,000 yuan is offered if a foreign pastor is snared. Between 3,000 and 5,000 yuan will be paid if information leads to an unregistered foreign religious group being shut down, and from 100 to 3,000 yuan will be paid to tongue-waggers who inform on local church gatherings and pastors.