By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent BosNewsLife
BEIJING, CHINA (BosNewsLife)– Chinese security forces have raided a Bible study gathering in South China and detained several Christians as part of a government-crackdown on faith, BosNewsLife learned Saturday, September 5.
Police, state security officers, and ethnic and religious affairs bureau officials reportedly raided Guangzhou’s Bible Reformed Church in the city of Dongguan in the coastal Guangdong province.
Those involved in the raid accused Christians of “spreading evil religion,” confirmed ChinaAid, a well-informed advocacy group.
“Authorities interrupted a Bible study, which had more than ten attendees, and took three Christians, including [church] minister Yang Jun, to the police station,” the group told BosNewsLife.
“Officials released two individuals that night but detained Minister Yang for a day. They alleged he had been ‘showing off and swindling,’” ChinaAid added.
In published remarks, local Pastor Huang Xiaoning warned authorities that the members of the Bible Reformed Church would not be intimidated by the pressure.
He reportedly said government representatives “can come at any time and ‘enforce the law.’ “ In a statement translated by ChinaAid, he added that “We, at any time, might be subject to law enforcement, but our worship will never cease.”
The latest standoff came after crosses were removed, and churches closed or raided in several parts of China. Even state-approved denominations face severe restrictions, say activists, and well-informed Christians.
Christians suggest that China’s atheist President Xi Jinping wants to keep the nation under tight ideological control.
At least roughly five percent of China’s approximately 1.4 billion people are Christian, according to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
However, church groups say the real figure could be much higher.