The leader of a Christian human rights organization based in the U.S has shared disturbing video footage of a cross burning atop a church in China's central Henan province.
Bob Fu, head of China Aid, shared a video of the burning cross, which reportedly caught fire as authorities destroyed it as part of an ongoing crackdown on Christianity in the province. The organization notes that such incidents have occurred multiple times during cross demolitions in the last few years.
The increased persecution of Christians is the result of the revised Regulations on Religious Affairs, which which went into effect in February. The regulations, which define the administrative framework around religious activities, claim to "protect citizens' freedom of religious belief." However, government officials keep a tight rein on religious activities and allow only officially recognized religious institutions to operate.
A church elder in Henan recently told China Aid that local authorities required that the church leaders read the new regulations to congregants for 10 minutes for each church service, and pastors and elders should write down their thoughts.
Earlier this month, activists filmed footage of what appeared to be piles of burning bibles and forms declaring that the signatories had rejected their faith. Chinese authorities allegedly forced the believers to sign the forms or risk being expelled from school or losing welfare benefits, Fox News reports.
Also in September, Henan authorities simultaneously raided several churches throughout the province, abusing and detaining some Christians.
In March, footage emerged of Communist Party officials using a crane to rip a cross off the Shangqiu Catholic Church South Cathedral in Henan.
Church-run academies for children have also been shut down in Henan province. Last July, Communist government officials accused teachers of "brainwashing" students with Christianity in their explanation for why they had to shut down the academy.
Writing on Twitter, Fu said, "The international community should be alarmed and outraged for this blatant violation of freedom of religion and belief."