Epidemic or Not, Crackdown Continues on Chinese Home Churches

by Fred Jackson

(AgapePress) A report says the SARS virus has not distracted Chinese officials from their campaign against Christian churches.

Religion Today reports at least 52 key house church leaders have been arrested in recent months. Among those incidents was a raid against a house church in Henan Province where 20 people, including a Dutch citizen, were taken into custody.

And early last month, senior house church leader Elder Chen was arrested, along with his 17-year-old son. Chen, described as one of the most wanted house leaders in China, has managed to evade capture for years, moving from house to house and meeting with his family on only rare occasions. Despite all this persecution, underground churches have continued to flourish -- a fact that enrages the Chinese officials.

During a recent session of the National People's Congress, officials agreed to continue their "Strike Hard" campaign against all unauthorized groups, including the house churches which are considered illegal cults in China.

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