The Chinese government continues to crack down on those seeking to share the gospel, arresting two believers who were engaging in evangelism.
The pair were reported to have been evangelising on the streets of Quzhou in Zhejiang province, before being arrested by authorities and detained for ten days. A pastor from Henan province told International Christian Concern (ICC) that such police action is becoming more common, with ten Christians placed under administrative detention in Jiangsu for passing out gospel tracts on the streets. According to ICC, with the current rates of persecution, it is possible that within the first ten days of July more than 300 Christians will have been detained.
The pastor added: “In the past they would share what happened to them. Now they dare not to share. Before they were released they were threatened by the police that they would be detained again, or that their social welfare would be stopped. […] While the churches used to speak up about the detention, now more than 90 per cent of churches choose to stay silent.”
China's communist government, headed by President Xi Jinping, has been engaging in an increasingly sinister crackdown on the Christian faith; tearing down churches, arresting believers and attempting to sway loyalty and devotion away from Jesus and towards the President.
Recently, one pastor in the northern province of Shanxi explained to persecution watchdog Bitter Winter that the authorities have been threatening to slash welfare benefits to Christian residents if they refuse to replace images of Jesus with Chairman Mao and President Xi Jinping.
He said; "All impoverished households in the town were told to display Mao Zedong images. The government is trying to eliminate our belief and wants to become God instead of Jesus."
In another incident earlier this year, officials in the eastern province of Shandong stuck portraits Mao Zedong and Xi Jinping to the walls of residents and declared, "these are the greatest gods. If you want to worship somebody, they are the ones".
Open Doors estimates that there are just under 100 million Christians currently residing in China, the majority of which are members of 'underground' churches that are not officially sanctioned by the government.