China detains 30 Christians in latest religious crackdown

Chinese authorities detained 30 members of a house church in southern Guangdong province last July 10 as the atheist state intensifies its ongoing crackdown against Christians.

Part of a propaganda banner which reads, "Prevent and reject the Church of Almighty God's cult invasions", is seen at an outdoor exercising court, in Puyang, Henan province, China, in this file picture taken January 12, 2012. | Reuters/Stringer

According to China Aid, a Christian persecution watchdog in the East Asian country, personnel of the religious affairs bureau and the police raided the Olive Tree Church's Sunday worship service on the morning of July 10. The officials took pictures of the congregation, confiscated church property, banned their church meetings, sealed the church doors and then took away 30 of its members to the police station.

The police freed the detained house church members after a day but four others spent four days behind bars, including a lawyer in England, Tan Xiuhong, and their church leader Jiang Jianping who faced charges of "conducting activities in the name of a social organization without registration."

This became the worst persecution suffered by the house church at the hands of the Communist state after hundreds of police also raided Olive Tree Church and Ark Church on Sept. 21, 2014, and detained six members, including the British lawyer. Authorities then charged the Christian members of the house churches of "using a cult organization to undermine law enforcement."

Despite the ongoing religious crackdown against the Chinese Christians, the repressive state might still produce the world's largest Christian population by 2030, according to the mission organization OMF International.

"We are overjoyed with what the Lord has already done in China," Robert Pennington, vice president for mobilization of OMF, told The Christian Post. "But that doesn't mean the task is finished."

"China will almost certainly have the most evangelical Christians," said Pennington, "and that will greatly shape the global evangelical Church in the coming years.

"While 200 million Chinese believers by the year 2030 may seem ambitious, it certainly gives us a strong goal to pray toward," he added.