There may be as many as 130 million Christians in China.
China (MNN) ― Chinese police have detained several house church members for sending money to earthquake survivors in the name of a house church, Voice of the Martyrs reports.
On Sunday, June 1, six Chinese Public Security Bureau (PSB) police officers disrupted a house church meeting in Taikang county, Henan province. They forcibly detained and interrogated seven believers, asking who was going to bring donations to the earthquake disaster area in Sichuan province.
The officials released one woman and her child, but they claim they will not release the other six believers from detention until each of them has paid a 1000Yuan fine, according to China Aid Association.
On May 28, two other Christians from the same province were also detained on similar charges, China Aid reported. At least one of them has been released after giving gifts worth more than 4000Yuan in value to PSB officers and paying a 500Yuan penalty.
Chinese Christians in and around Sichuan province have been eager to help the survivors of the May 12 earthquake, as MNN reported on June 6. However, persecution is intensifying in the months leading up to the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in August.
China Aid recently released a report titled "China: Persecution of Protestant Christians in the Approach to the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games" in conjunction with Christian Solidarity Worldwide. It reports that another two Christians were arrested on May 31 while carrying out relief work in Sichuan province.
"The House Churches deserve the right to do charitable work
such as providing relief to
earthquake victims," said China Aid Association President Bob Fu. "We urge the Henan government to change its backward mentality from discriminating against those who continue to do good deeds."
According to the report, the number of persecuted Christians has increased by 18.5 percent, and China is conducting the largest expulsion of foreign Christians since the 1950s. In April, an "Anti-illegal Christian Activities Campaign" was launched in Xinjiang Province. Another campaign discourages landlords from renting property to believers.
China's Ministry of Public Security has secretly issued an eleven-category blacklist of people who may not attend, report on, or participate in the Olympic Games. The third category is called "Religious Extremists and Religious Infiltrators" and includes participants in illegal religious organizations or activities in China or abroad. According to the report, "It is feared that harsher persecution will take place after the Olympics."
Pray that believers in China will not waver in their faith.