Christians in China were arrested and detained by officials with China’s Communist Party while passing out Gospel tracts and ordered to cease all religious activity or risk losing social welfare benefits.
A Christian in Jiangxi province recently told persecution watchdog China Aid that previously, believers were permitted to openly share their faith. Now, doing so invites severe repercussions from local authorities.
On July 3, the two Christians in Zhejiang province’s Quzhou who were sharing the Gospel on the streets were taken by the police and detained for 10 days. Also in July, more than 10 Christians were placed under administrative detention in Jiangsu for passing out Gospel tracts on the streets, a local pastor said.
Fearing further repercussions, those who were released did not share the details of their detention, the pastor told China Aid.
“In the past they would share what happened to them,” the pastor said. “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% of churches choose to stay silent.”
Previous reports have revealed how Communist authorities use low-income Christians’ reliance on government assistance to coerce believers to renounce their faith.
It was earlier reported that Communist officials ordered Christians who received social welfare payments from the government to replace crosses, religious symbols, and images in their homes with portraits of China’s communist leaders, Christian Post Reports.
If Christians resisted the order, officials annulled their subsidies.
Persecution watchdog Open Doors USA ranks China as the 23rd worst country in the world when it comes to the persecution of Christians. The organization notes that all churches are perceived as a threat if they become too large, too political, or invite foreign guests.