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."
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.