A noted Christian pastor in China was detained amid a crackdown throughout the country on Christianity.
Religious authorities in the city of Hangzhou confirmed that Rev. Gu Yuese was detained and is under investigation due to his opposition to a law put in place to tear down church crosses in Zhejiang Province.
Evangelical leaders throughout China described the efforts against Christians as a crackdown on negative “foreign influences,” according to The Christian Science Monitor.
“His arrest marks a major escalation in the crackdown against those who oppose the forced demolition of crosses,” China Aid's president and founder, Bob Fu, said, reported Christian Post. “He will be the highest-ranking national church leader arrested since the Cultural Revolution."
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In 2015, hundreds of Christians were arrested for protesting against church raids that have resulted in the closing of several churches.
In December 2015, Huoshi Church in Guiyang was shut down — though its pastor, Su Tianfu Su, said all they did was care for disadvantaged people.
“We feel we're a faithful group which has done nothing but a lot of charitable work in Guiyang by reaching out to those in need, including orphans and the sick and the elderly,” Su said, according to Christian Post.