A Dutch hacker who claims to be part of the Anonymous collective has attacked and defaced Chinese government websites to protest against the persecution of Christians in China.

The hacktivist, Poltergeisth4cker, left the massage, "Catholics will never fall! Freedom for Christians!" posted beneath an image of Jesus.

According to the website Cyberwarnews, which anticipates further attacks, the hacker struck other Chinese websites, replacing their homepage with a "Free Tibet" message.

The new operation, called Free Christians, is likely to draw attention to the persecution of Christians in the communist country, which attempts to control religious practices.

The cyber-attack to defend Christians in China comes after an Italian cell of Anonymous took the Vatican's official website offline.

It also leaked the personal details of journalists at Vatican Radio as part a wider attempt to force the station to act over radio waves that are allegedly carcinogenic.