Police Raid House Church, Arrest 28 Members in China
Ten Children Among Christians Detained
08/23/2021 China (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on August 22, the heavily persecuted house church, Early Rain Covenant Church (ERCC), was once again violently raided by the local authorities in Chengdu, China. Twenty-eight members from a small group were taken away during a worship service.
According to a prayer request provided by ERCC, around 10:00 a.m. on August 22, as Preacher Dai Zhichao was leading Sunday service for the “Treading Water” small group at brother He Shan’s home, police knocked on He’s door.
Once the service was finished around 11:00 a.m., the gathered Christians opened the door to a team of police officers. The police claimed that someone had reported the illegal gathering and demanded to enter to register everyone’s personal information. Preacher Dai asked them to show proper documents, yet the police ignored him and forcibly entered the home. In the process, Dai was injured on his arm, as were other men who tried to help. Dai’s cell phone was also confiscated.
Once they registered everyone’s information, the police officers went outside, where church members continued to share a meal together as they always do. The calm was only temporary.
Around 2:00 p.m., police officers from Chenghua District Mengzhuiwang office descended on He’s home and took away almost everyone present, including 18 adults and 10 children, including an infant who is not even one year old.
The names of the detained adults are as follows: Xiao Donghong, Jin Wen, Liu Xingfeng, Huang Wei, Zhang Haiyan, Xuan Bin, He Shan, Hao Guiru, Dai Zhi Chao and his wife Lu Lingzhi, Sang Ensui and his wife Lan Fali, Shu Qiong and her husband Wang Song, Tang Peng and his wife Huang Yizhen, and Niu Chuang and his wife He Ye.
An ERCC member told ICC that many people were beaten by the police in detention. When the children were rowdy, the police officers threatened to hit them on their heads.
While most of them were returned to the police officers from their respective districts and later released, Preacher Dai and brother He were put under administrative detention for 14 days. Brother He also received a fine of 1,000 RMB ($154).
Ever since the December 2018 raid on ERCC, the church’s leaders and members continue to be harassed and repeatedly detained by the local authorities. Preacher Dai is one such case. He was once jailed for three months for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” during the 2018 raid. Last November, he was summoned by the police for his participation in an “illegal religious gathering.”
Gina Goh, ICC’s Regional Manager for Southeast Asia, said, “The latest raid against ERCC, though nothing novel, shows a worrying trend that house churches are frequently subjected to harassment like this in the name of ‘law enforcement,’ where legally flawed Revised Regulations on Religious Affairs have been employed by Beijing to crack down on house churches around the country. The Chinese Communist Party’s constant fear of unregistered churches is both pathetic and preposterous, as it underscores President Xi’s insecurity toward any critical mass. There is absolutely no regard for religious freedom.”