Chinese authorities have arrested six people for holding a Bible study, including the pastor.
According to International Christian Concern, on December 30, Pastor An Yankui was holding Bible study in his house in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, when around 40 local officials descended on the meeting.
The wife of Pastor An Yao Conya said that police confiscated the choir robes and books that belong to the church, and arrested most of the study group.
The five detainees were released by authorities after two days, but Pastor An is still in prison serving a 15-day “administrative detention.”
Pastor An’s church is associated with the Early Rain Covenant Church, an underground Christian organization which has been heavily persecuted by the Chinese government in recent years.
Less than two months earlier, Pastor An and six members of his congregation were arrested when he held a service which was not pre-approved by the state.
In order to legally practice Christianity in China, churches must be registered with the Chinese Communist government and obey strict regulations.
Along with censoring themselves, officials have recently ordered pastors to incorporate state-ideology into sermons as a requirement for churches to reopen as coronavirus lockdowns end across China.
The desire to “sinicize” Christianity and ensure every church complies with Communist doctrine has led to renewed persecutions of independent churches this year.