Christianity Today has had a series of articles about persecution in China. This article from ChinaSource gives a glimpse into one reason it is so hard to discern whether persecution is up for some or all Christians in China, and/or whether perceived persecution is rooted in questions of the faith or questions of civic society. When I lived in Singapore, one case was brought to the courts where a family were arrested on account of the Bible study that they hosted in their home–but the specific issue was that the volume of their music and worship exceeded the limits specified in their lease, especially after a designated hour (e.g. midnight). It seemed to be much more a case of being bad neighbors than of being victims of persecution.
In addition to a better understanding of the Church in China, it is also worth noting that similar dynamics occur in other countries between free-church evangelicals and evangelicals within historic traditions that have a significant number of progressive or heterodox leaders. The picture in China might be a helpful resource for others to consider how to negotiate the tensions in their own Church networks.