Police in China have carried out a massive raid on five house churches in Shandong province in the east of the country, seizing a huge number of Christian publications, both in physical and digital form, The Daily Express reported on Saturday.
A Christian in Jining city told the UK Based news outlet police were actively “hostile” towards Christian churches but did not target local Buddhist temples.
“During their visit to these churches, the authorities confiscated more than 1,100 copies of alleged ‘illegal’ publications and disks.”
Worshippers told China Aid Association, a non-governmental Christian nonprofit, that authorities claimed the raids were part of their campaign to target pornography, but instead they only targeted Christian churches, and seized a huge number of Bibles, both in physical and digital form.
Sources report “ethnic and religious affairs bureau” officials joined police to carry out the raids.
The raid, according to The Daily Express, comes amid an accelerating crackdown on religion in China, after 100 Christians were sent to so-called “re-education” camps earlier this year.
More than 100 believers were detained in Xinjiang province and taken to facilities where they were taught to be loyal to the country’s ideologies.
These “mind-transformation centres” instruct detainees to be loyal to China, not their religion, with worried family members reporting poor conditions.
One local church leader told charity Open Doors: “Some stay there for a month, others for half a year or even longer.”
Open Doors said state-approved churches do exist but with high security measures in place.
The charity said: “Government-registered churches are also required to scan ID cards when they come to Sunday services. An alarm will sound if anyone works for the government or a public institution.
“Many Christians have stopped going to registered churches and instead meet in smaller secret groups.”