Despite the imminent Beijing Olympics, Chinese Christians continue to be harassed by government officials. In recent weeks, several Chinese house church leaders have been arrested and house church meetings broken up by government officials.
On 18 June Zhang Mingxuan, president of the Chinese House Church Alliance, was detained together with his interpreter as he was on his way to meet with a senior EU official in Beijing. Last year, Pastor Zhang wrote three open letters to the international community about government persecution of house churches. Since becoming a Christian in 1986, he has been arrested, beaten and imprisoned twelve times.
On 1 June, a Sunday service at Taikang County, Henan Province, was disrupted when several Public Security Bureau (PSB) officials broke into the meeting and detained seven Christians. The officials did not give any reason for the arrests.
During interrogation, the seven were questioned about who was taking donations to the earthquake disaster area. A woman and her child were released, but the other Christians remain in detention on charges of sending money to the disaster area in the name of a house church. PSB officials claimed that they would only release the Christians if they paid a 1000 yuan fine (approx. £75).
Many Chinese Christians have seen the disastrous earthquake that hit Sichuan Province on 12 May as an opportunity to share the gospel with others in a practical way. They set about helping others in need, delivering food, water and medicine at their own expense to areas missed by government relief, says Barnabas Fund.