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ICC Note:  While the detention of human rights lawyers in China deservedly grabs the headlines, persecution of Christians continues throughout the country, as local authorities raid and disrupt local gatherings of Christians for alleged crimes, denying these citizens of the religious freedom granted under the Chinese constitution.

By Brynne Lawrence

07/28/2015 China (China Aid)

Around fifty Guangzhou officials raided the Guangfu House Church in Baiyun District on Thursday during a church gathering, confiscated its belongings, and apprehended several attendees.

Wu, a pastor at the church, informed China Aid’s reporter that the officials sealed the door of the church and refused to show their identification. He also said that they brought four church members, including himself, another pastor, a church member and the wife of the church’s leader, Ma Chao, to the Yongping Subdistrict Police Station and detained them for over seven hours. During this time, the church members requested that the officials return the church’s property or even give the Christians a list of the confiscated items, but they refused. Wu recounts that, “…[the officials] said we were disturbing public order and resisting the law.”

Government officials began persecuting this house church earlier this year. On May 22, the Baiyun District Religious Affairs Bureau issued the church a command to “end religious activities immediately” with the consequence of being shut down. Two days later, they sent over a hundred officers to confiscate property and arrest church members. Additionally, they forced over 20 Christians holding a meeting outside the sealed church door to leave.

Ma, a church leader, filed an indictment against the religious affairs bureau, but the court refused to investigate. He hired a lawyer to defend the legal rights of the church.

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