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A massive new wave of persecution of Christians has been taking place in China since China’s president, Xi Jinping, introduced a five-year plan to sinicise all the nation’s religions by infusing them with ‘Chinese characteristics’ such as loyalty to the Communist Party.

The government has taken steps toward this measure by shutting down hundreds of private Christian house churches and seizing Bibles.

Almost every week VOM receives new reports of arrests and raids on house churches across China.

A Chinese house-church pastor who has been harassed by authorities in recent months remains resolute in his commitment to worship God freely. After spending five days in detention, Pastor Huang Xiaoning of Guangzhou’s Bible Reformed Church returned to find the doors of his church building locked by the government. As policemen looked on and took video footage of the pastor, he sawed the lock off the church door and ripped down public notices stating that the church was closed. Pastor Huang had been detained for leading a church service after Chinese officials had ordered him to stop meeting. To date, VOM workers have documented 528 church closures, though it is likely there have been more.

A Christian leader in China said house churches continue to resist the communist government’s attempts to bring all churches under its authority. “To date, I have not found one church leader who intends to obey the law and register their church,” he said. “Many churches have closed prematurely and are meeting in smaller groups of about 30 people.”

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