Christian advocacy group China Aid has warned that the communist state has increased crackdowns on Christians under the guise of breaking up illegal meetings under Covid-19 lockdown measures.
Individuals’ homes have been raided by armed police, with Christian emblems removed from their own homes, while churches have continued to see their crosses removed by the Chinese state.
Even churches sanctioned by the Communist Party – the so-called Three Self Churches – have found themselves under attack from the state.
According to China Aid footage, sourced by US Christian website CBN, Chinese Christians have said the latest wave of persecution against them is worse than what the church experienced during the height of Mao’s Cultural Revolution.
Although Christians and other minority faiths in the country have suffered ongoing pressures under President Xi Jinping, they say government oppression has intensified since the onset of the global Covid-19 pandemic earlier this year.
As quoted by CBN, Bob Fu, president of China Aid, said although this wave of persecution actually began in 2015, now the Chinese Communist Party has a new excuse for targeting Christians.
He said, ‘Now under this pretext of Covid-19 coronavirus, the Chinese Communist Party has intensified its persecution by banning all the church activities – even those worship services, prayer meetings in believers’ own homes with their own family members.’
Mr Fu claimed the government has also used this as an excuse to arrest Christians who called for on-line prayer meetings.
According to CBN reports, in July more than 100 Public Security Bureau police and others were sent to oversee the demolition of crosses at Aodi Christian Church and Yinchang Christian Church in China’s Zhejiang province.
It is understood that, when Christians attempted to protest against the removal, many were beaten by the PSB police, with a man in his 80s pushed to the ground.