More than 250 Protestant churches run by the Chinese Communist Party have been stripped of their crosses, Christians in China's Anhui province report.
"All Christian symbols are ordered to be removed as part of the government's crackdown campaign," said a CCP employee in one of the affected cities.
Reportedly, symbols of Islam and Buddhism also must be removed in keeping with a national policy.
At some churches, congregants have showed up in groups to try to prevent the removal of the crosses. More than 100 parishioners of Gulou Church resisted the removal of their church's cross for eight hours before it was eventually taken down, Bitter Winter reported.
One churchgoer told the media outlet that local officials report government fear that Christians may "unite with foreigners against the state" as tensions increase between the United States and China.
"As crosses are being removed throughout the country, those who refuse to cooperate will be accused of opposing the Communist Party," the Christian said. "We are pressured to give up our faith, but we will persevere."