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A Chinese religious freedom activist has said persecution in the country has never been worse, but instead of supressing the sharing of the Gospel, it's actually helped it.
The founder of the Christian human rights charity China Aid, Bob Fu, told Premier over 223,000 Christians were persecuted last year, which is four times more than the previous year.
China Aid's documented Christian human rights violations also doubled last year and the number of people detained reached 3,700.
"As a Christian you're always being seen as a suspicious force," Fu said. "Christianity is portrayed as a foreign, western religion, being suspected [as] a foreign infiltration force to subvert the state power of the Communist Party."
The crackdown on Christians in China has meant that crosses have been removed from churches, churches have been demolished, and Christians suspected of worshipping at home have been detained.
A house church Christian in China's southern Guangdong province was recently blacklisted from employment after being arrested for his faith.
Fu said: "Some officials even force themselves to stay in Christian homes overnight to prevent them from midnight secret worship services. We have never seen this kind of extreme persecution since the end of the Cultural Revolution."
However, Fu said the reason the crackdown has been getting increasingly worse in the past five years is because the number of Christians in China is rapidly growing.
He said that according to a secret government document that China Aid obtained after the government launched its cross removal campaign, the purpose is to "contain the over hated growth of Christianity".
Fu added: "When I read that, I was smiling. I said 'hallelujah', that means the Communist Party acknowledges there is a fast growth of Christianity… they are worried.
"In 1949 there were only less than one million Christians, today after 60 years of non-stop persecution [from the political party that took over], there's over 100 million. So there's 100 fold growth despite persecution.
"The number of community party members is less than 90 million. There are more Christians than these atheistic party members and it's a political threat in their eyes."
Fu, who in the mid-1990s was imprisoned in China for illegal evangelism, told Premier the rapid growth of Christianity shows that God is still in control.
"God is sitting on his throne and laughing at these Communist leaders. Maybe he will call them as his servant just like he called Nebuchadnezzar in the Babylonian times."
Listen to Tola Mbakwe speaking with Bob Fu here:
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