A new report published on Thursday has concluded that religious freedom has hit a 40-year low in China.
The communist state has imposed strict laws controlling religious freedom since the Communist Party took power in 1949. However, in recent years things have become worse for people of faith in China.
China has persecuted its Uighur Muslim population in Xinjiang, but also Buddhists, Jews and Christians.
Churches in China have seen buildings destroyed, bibles confiscated and an increase in believers being imprisoned for their faith.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has particularly targeted the underground church movement in China, which has seen phenomenal growth over the last two decades.
Read More: Breitbart
The continued clamp down on faith groups in China has seen the imprisonment of Pastor Wang Yi. He was arrested 7 months ago with his wife and around 100 members of his congregation. Pastor Wang Yi has now had more charges added, to the original charge of “inciting subversion”. His supporters believe this is because it is difficult to prove a charge of “inciting subversion”. The new charges include “illegal business activities”.
Most of the 100 members have already been released, along with Pastor Wang Yi’s wife. However, members of the church are under close surveillance from authorities.
Before his arrest Pastor Wang had released a letter denouncing the communist parties recent activities:
“I believe that this Communist regime’s persecution against the church is a greatly wicked, unlawful action. As a pastor of a Christian church, I must denounce this wickedness openly and severely,” the pastor wrote.
“The calling that I have received requires me to use non-violent methods to disobey those human laws that disobey the Bible and God. My Savior Christ also requires me to joyfully bear all costs for disobeying wicked laws.”
The Chinese government only allows protestant churches within its state approved Three-Self Patriotic Movement, which censors what can be preached. However recent years has seen new restrictions and clamp downs on both State approved and illegal churches.
China ranks 27 in the Open Doors World Watch List of persecuted countries.
Read More: The Christian Post