A pastor from Taiwan was recently arrested after leading a group of Christians in singing the popular song, “Jesus Loves Me,” according to an organization that works to expose human rights abuses in China.
Pastor Xu Rongzhang was detained in Zhengzhou, China, on Saturday, after he joined a group in singing the popular faith tune, according to China Aid.
“Officials stated that the song was an illegal religious activity and detained Xu on April 15,” the organization said in a statement posted on its website. “They also took his identification documents and permit to travel to mainland China and did not return them until April 17, even though Xu was released on the same day that he was taken into custody.”
So far, ChinaAid has not released additional details about the purported incident, and it is unclear if the detainment was related to any other potential activity or accusation not mentioned in the statement.
A voicemail from Faithwire seeking further comment or updates on the matter has not yet been returned.
As The Christian Post reported, China’s communist government has been cracking down on the Christian faith, with five Christians recently being sentenced for buying and selling “forbidden Christian devotional books,” among other related infractions.
Missionaries, too, have been targeted by the government.
And, as Faithwire reported in January, a Chinese woman was reportedly thrown in prison for hosting a Bible study in her home. Ma Huichao was purportedly arrested along with a group of four others and was subsequently charged with three years in prison on Friday after being accused of holding the Bible study without government permission.
Huichao went on trial in mid-November, with China Aid reporting that her attorney, Li Dunyong, wasn’t permitted to plead innocent on his client’s behalf, leading her to receive a three-year prison sentence, which she reportedly began on Dec. 30.
China is ranked as the 39th worst place to live in the world as a Christian, according to Open Doors USA’s World Watch List.