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10/1/10 China (ChinaAid) — At about 3:30 p.m. on September 26, 2010, 20 people were gathered together at Youqing Church in Qu County, Sichuan province when about 10 officers from the Youqing Township Police Station and the Zhongtan Xiang government arrived at the site of gathering. The church members were holding their meeting at the residence of Tong Taiyun, located in Group 1, Tianshan Village of Zhongtan Xiang.

After declaring the meeting to be an “illegal gathering”, the officers smashed a desk and hauled off 30 stools. They also confiscated about 500 yuan in cash, books and notebooks without giving the church members a receipt. Twenty believers were then taken to the local police station and interrogated. During the interrogation, the members of Youqing Church were treated unjustly. Two of them (Wang Junzhang and Yuan Chuanchun) were beaten, and the director of the police station choked one of them with a chain.

Five people were released after their families posted bail; four people were released for 500 yuan each, and the other one was let go for 200 yuan, giving a grand total of 2,200 yuan. (In that particular area of China, 500 yuan can be about one month’s salary for one person.) The remaining 15 people were released at about midnight.

On September 29, some brothers and sisters went to the police station and asked for receipts. The police station issued receipts for the confiscated money, but didn’t give receipts for the money that was posted as bail.  On the same day, other members went to the police station in an attempt to get back their belongings. The authorities immediately sent five of them to a detention center, charging them with “disrupting the public order under the guise of religion.”  They have each been sentenced to 15 days of detention, and were verbally abused in the process. The five people still in detention are: Zhou Yan’an, Su Juan, Yuan Chuanchun, Hu Daomu and Wang Junzhang.

ChinaAid will continue to stand with Youqing Church. We encourage Christians to pray that the church members will persevere and continue to act lawfully and with wisdom.