Persecution of Christians stepped up in China with increased raids on house churches

A raid at Huoshi Church, also known as Livingstone Church, in Guizhou province.China Aid

Persecution is surging in China as authorities in Xinjiang detain pastors and Christian families.

Charities are receiving reports of growing numbers of raids in the northwestern Xinjiang province in particular, where house churches have been targeted and numerous Christians detained. One entire family was confined to their house, according to China Aid.

In Hetian in the south of the province, several churches were raided in one day. Christians taken in for questioning were held for many hours.

A pastor's wife was also taken into custody, and her husband Zhong Shuguangonly escaped arrest because he was travelling. She was released the next day.  Zhong had posted a message online protesting the lack of religious freedom for Christians in Xinjiang. The pastor has previously been detained and fined for holding religious meetings.

A church cross that was demolished in Zhejiang.China Aid

Zhong prayed for persecuted Christians "to be endowed with confidence, tenderness, eloquence and a loving heart so that they may defend their faith".

According to China Aid, Christian persecution is occurring elsewhere throughout Xinjiang, such as the blacklisting of the entire family of Pastor Lou Yuanqi who were not allowed even to buy train tickets recently.

Lou said: "The day before yesterday, officials called and asked our children to return. Our children do not live at home; only one daughter lives at home. The rest of our children are in Urumqi. The public security bureau called us and asked us to tell them to come home. I asked why, and they said to gather their information, take their pictures and conduct blood tests. I said they have all married and started their careers.

"This is too unreasonable to do. A while ago, they even took away my ID card and returned it later."