More than 20 Christians were detained and beaten in China, and another couple detained for hanging a cross in their home, as the crackdown against Christianity in the country continues.
According to persecution watchdog China Aid, witnesses said police officers from the Nanle County Public Security Bureau in central Henan province beat a local Christian on September 25, then detained and beat 20 more believers and arrested them all.
President of the Chinese House Church Alliance, Zhang Mingxuan, said the police's behaviour was "against the national constitution and laws for house church believers".
"A lot of problems have been caused because they [the public security bureau personnel] control, attack and persecute Christianity in Henan," he added. "I hope the international community will pray for them."
Meanwhile in Xinjiang in the northwest of China, a Christian couple who run a house church were detained along with a woman who was visiting their home.
China Aid reports that they were targeted "because they displayed a cross in their home".
Dai and his wife Li had their house raided and religious items confiscated – the second time officials have targeted their house church this year.
Dai has now been released, but Li and their guest remain in custody.
Under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, China is believed to be becoming progressively more suspicious of the influence of religion – and especially Christianity – on the country.
More human rights activists and lawyers have been arrested in the past two years than in the previous two decades combines, and up to 1,500 churches have been demolished or had their crosses removed.