Chinese police raided a small group of Christian worshipers from a heavily persecuted house church in southwest China’s Sichuan Province and arrested nearly everyone, including an infant under the age of 18. ‘one year old, nine children and 18 adults.
Officers from the Chenghua District Mengzhuiwang Office broke into the home of church member He Shan, where the Early Rain Covenant small group was meeting for worship on Sunday, CBN said. News.
“Police claimed to have received a call reporting an illegal gathering there,” the church wrote on its Facebook page, persecution watchdog International Christian Concern reported, identifying the rally as the small group “Treading Water “and the preacher like Dai Zhichao.
Preacher Dai asked the police to show the appropriate documents, but the police ignored him and forced his way into his brother He’s. In the process, the preacher was injured in the arm, as were other men who tried to help him. Dai’s phone was also confiscated, the ICC said.
A church member told the ICC that many people were beaten by police after being detained. “When the children were rowdy, the police threatened to hit them on the head,” the ICC said.
The police later released most of them, but preacher Dai and his brother He were placed in administrative detention for 14 days. Brother He was also fined 1,000 RMB ($ 154).
Open Doors USA, which monitors the persecution in more than 60 countries, estimates that there are approximately 97 million Christians in China, a large percentage of whom worship in what China considers “illegal” and not “illegal” underground house churches. recorded.
Over two years ago, authorities shut down the 5,000-member church’s ERCC, broke down the doors of the homes of church members and leaders, and arrested more than 100 people. Police continue to harass and stalk church members, according to a recent report by the US group China Aid.
The ERCC, headed by Pastor Wang Yi, has not been able to meet in person since it closed in 2018 when its pastor and other leaders were arrested. Wang was then sentenced to nine years in prison for subversion of power and illegal business operations.
Gina Goh, ICC Regional Director for Southeast Asia, commented: “The latest raid on the ERCC, while nothing new, shows a disturbing trend in which house churches are frequently subjected to such harassment in the name of “law enforcement,” where legally Religious affairs regulations have been used by Beijing to crack down on house churches across the country. “
Goh added that the Chinese Communist Party’s constant fear of unregistered churches “is both pathetic and absurd, as it points out to President Xi. [Jinping]insecurity vis-à-vis any critical mass. There is absolutely no respect for religious freedom.
Goh previously said, “Beijing seeks to intimidate leaders in the hope that churches will dissolve out of fear. Their plot will not succeed, thanks to the resilience of the Chinese house church. They survived the Cultural Revolution, and they will survive Xi’s era as well.
Under President Xi’s leadership, CCP officials are enforcing strict controls on religion, according to a report released in March by China Aid.
Chinese authorities are also cracking down on Christianity by removing Bible apps and Christian WeChat public accounts as new, severely restrictive administrative measures on religious personnel came into effect this year.
China is ranked on Open Doors USA’s global watch list as one of the worst countries in the world for persecuting Christians.
The US State Department also called China a “country of particular concern” for “continuing to engage in particularly serious violations of religious freedom.”