A Christian persecution charity has warned of a worsening situation for Christians in China ahead of a planned crackdown on churches.
Christians in China are already facing increasing regulations following a ban on Bible apps there. Churches are also forced to preach from rewritten Bibles, which have been edited to support communist ideology.
Those that refuse must meet 'underground', away from the public eye, and face imprisonment if they are caught.
On Friday 1st September new rules will come into force intended to limit all religious activities to official venues only and prevent the display of religious symbols outdoors.
All religious activity will have to be supervised by the state to make sure churches and places of worship support the leadership of China’s Communist Party.
Release International (RI), a Christian charity working with persecuted believers, says the new rules are tantamount to a complete ban of Christianity.
"This is a further attempt to clamp down on the church in China," says Release International's Paul Robinson. "Yet by every account Christianity in China is growing. The number of Christians in China has long surpassed the membership of the Communist Party."
RI Partner Bob Fu, President of ChinaAid, says: "I don’t think I’ve seen the Chinese Communist Party as bold as they’ve been this summer in playing God and twisting how the gospel is taught. The only correct perspective in the eyes of the communist government is worship of the state and placing faith in Xi Jinping.
‘The international community must take note of escalating oppression from the Communist Party of China."