06/11/2012 China (ChinaAid) - A baptism service at a Han Chinese house church in far west China’s region of Xinjiang was raided last week by local officials and police, who detained 17 Christians.
The raid on the Bajiahu house church in the town of Niuchang, Jinghe county was conducted on the morning of June 7. More than 20 Christians, including the house church leader and those who were to be baptized, had just started gathering at the meeting site when two police officers burst into the meeting. Shortly thereafter, officials in charge of religion and domestic security protection rushed to the scene in four government vehicles. They took 17 believers into custody and held them until 7 p.m., when they were released into the custody of officers from the respective police stations of each detainee’s residence who escorted them home.
The leader of the house church, a woman named Wang Lili, was not at the scene during the raid, but the purse she left at the meeting site, which contained her government ID card, keys and more than 3,600 yuan (US$565), was confiscated. She went to the police on the day after the raid to try to get her personal belongings back but had no success. By Sunday, her belongings still had not been returned.