According to China Aid, Henan authorities have continued to tear down crosses across China.
Crosses have been taken down in Zhengzhou, Nanyang, and Yuzhou. China Aid reports that Christians sang hymns to encourage each other as a cross was ripped down at Gospel Fellowship Tongxin Church in Anpeng, Nanyang.
So far, in the Jinshui District of Zhengzhou, eight house churches have been shut down, but altogether locals have reported that it is difficult to estimate how many churches have been closed.
China Aid reports that Christians from Zhongmo County were informed by the local government that the crosses would be taken down. Some churches intended to cover the crosses with black veils to conceal them.
According to China Aid, Chinese Christian Fellowship of Righteousness made a statement last Tuesday condemning the actions of the Henan authorities, voicing outrage over the treatment toward churches and the destruction of crosses. Reportedly, in the statement, the group states that persecution against religious people, principally Christians, has escalated since February when a policy change was made in China.
The statement tells of extreme oppression in the largely Christian province of Henan. Authorities in Henan have taken measures to restrict pastors and have reportedly forced churches to fly China’s flag and display a portrait of the president, violating the Chinese Christian’s freedom of religion.
It is being reported that churches will be merged together to decrease the number to only one or two in each county. Houses of worship are being told not to display crosses outside of the church buildings.
Furthermore, pastors and ministers are being required to take government supervised exams which will ask them to answer questions regarding regulations on religious affairs, government practices to secure freedom of religion, and core socialist values, among other topics.
Photo courtesy: Unsplash/Aaron Burden