China: Crackdown on Christians continues as church members threatened

A church in China was stopped from holding services last Sunday, and members forced to register their identification cards with authorities.

The Communist Party is believed to be becoming progressively more suspicious of the influence of Christianity, which is experiencing significant growth in China.Reuters

According to Texas-based Christian charity China Aid, local officials raided Huoshi Fellowship church in Gansu, north-western China, on May 29.

The details of each church member were logged, and the church was warned not to continue holding meetings.

The Communist party is believed to be becoming progressively more suspicious of the influence of Christianity, which is experiencing significant growth in China. Up to 1,700 churches have been demolished or had their crosses torn down over the past two years.

According to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, the Chinese government last year "stepped up its persecution of religious groups deemed a threat to the state's supremacy and maintenance of a 'socialist society'".

On Tuesday, four civil rights activists were detained by authorities after holding a prayer meeting for those who died in the 1989 military crackdown in Tiananmen Square.

June 4 marks the 27th anniversary of the massacre, during which hundreds of pro-democracy protesters were killed. The Chinese government considers the protests a 'counter-revolutionary riot', and commemorating the anniversary is forbidden.

A report published by China Aid last month found that persecution against Christians in China has increased sevenfold since 2008.

The Chinese government wants to replace "Christ as the head of the church with submission to the Communist Party", the report read, alleging that more Christians are harassed, beaten and tortured than ever before.

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