About 3,000 Christians in China have been cut off from 125 places of worship in a continuing crackdown on religious activity outside the control of the Communist government.

Authorities in Jiangsu province in east China, north of Shanghai, have been sealing off the gathering places since July, reported the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy.

The reported closures took place in Suqian city, Danyang city and Xushui County.

The Chinese government considers all Protestant churches outside the official government-controlled Three-Self Patriotic Movement to be subversive. The official churches are restricted, to varying degrees around the country, in their doctrine and practice. The vast majority of Protestants are in “underground” churches. Catholics also are restricted to a government-controlled church, which does not recognize the authority of the pope.

As WorldNetDaily reported last week, a Chinese Christian man was severely beaten after arriving at a “re-education through labor” camp, and a believing woman died after apparently being roughed up by police, according to Voice of the Martyrs, or VOM.

Zhang Yi-nan was assaulted at the Ping Ding Shan City labor camp on the first day of his two-year sentence.

The man arrested with Zhang, Xiao Bi-guang, was released from prison last month after publicity from his case elicited the prayers and protests of Christians worldwide.

Xiao was arrested Sept. 26 in Beijing and accused of “subverting” the Chinese government and “socialist system,” according to VOM.

The group said Xiao attributes his release to publicity that came to the attention of Chinese authorities. A policeman reportedly asked him: “How did you get your story on the Internet?”

A source inside the Beijing Public Security Bureau, the agency involved in many arrests of Christians, told VOM sources, “Zhang doesn’t have a criminal problem. He has a mind problem. He is too superstitious.”

International protest apparently pressed China’s communist government to finally notify Xiao’s wife that he had been arrested.

Related stories:

Report: Police beat Christian to death

Protests help release Chinese Christian

Beijing bows to pressure on captured Christian,

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