China: clampdown reaches Christians in Henan

By World Watch Monitor

Local authorities in China’s east-central Henan Province have removed a number of crosses from churches closed a church-run kindergarten and asked Christian residents in one city to register.

The “two or three” crosses that have been forcibly removed from churches were located in Yichuan county, and were taken down because they were illegally built, an official from the Ethnic and Religion Bureau of Yichuan told the state-run Global Times newspaper on Monday (9 April). “Activities in the illegally-built parishes will be prohibited”, he said. “Other legal Christian activities here will remain open,” he said, adding that the government was targeting unregulated activities, not Christians.

Under President Xi Jinping, China’s government has sought to increase control over religious affairs and practice in the country resulting in, among others, the controversial cross-removal campaign in the eastern coastal province of Zhejiang.