15 Jan 2008, Christianity Today

The director of Open Doors China summed up Christian persecution in the country in 2007 by saying that most Chinese still cannot practise their religion openly.

The Chinese Communist Party waged a secret campaign against unregistered house churches from mid-June until the end of November, according to Open Doors USA. During this time, the government police investigated “the content of sermons, personal history of house church evangelists and the sources of their funds”.

On November 18, authorities detained 40 church leaders from China Gospel Fellowship in Xiancheng County in Henan Province.

The director, who cannot be named for security reasons, said many house church Christians are told they must stop their meetings. Some are fined. Some pastors are also locked up for a few days or sent to labor camps.

For Christians living in the countryside, it often is difficult to obtain study Bibles and Christian books or attend a Bible school.

The Chinese Government “is carefully crafting an image of religious tolerance leading up to the Summer Olympics in Beijing”, which start August 8, Open Doors USA said. “But the facts tell a different story,” it added.

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