Home News Police in China arrest minors, two others for attending Christian church meeting

Police in China arrest minors, two others for attending Christian church meeting

Authorities in China were reported to have offered cash rewards to whoever would report “illegal religious activities”

Several minors and two others were arrested by police in the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan for attending an Early Rain Covenant Church meeting on Sunday, August 22.

The incident happened during a police raid of the Chengdu Early Rain Covenant Church.

“The [group] was illegally assaulted by the police from the Mengchaiwan police station in Chenghua district,” a report on Radio Free Asia quoted a church member surnamed Li.

Among those arrested were Dai Zhichao, the host of the meeting, and church member He Shan. They were sentenced to 14 days’ administrative detention, said the report.

Li said “more than a dozen children were taken away.”

Video clips of the raid seen by RFA showed police breaking into Dai’s home.

“Dai Zhichao’s arm has been injured and his phone taken from him,” one church member said while filming the incident. “They dragged us out of the door and took us away.”

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In the clip, a police officer is heard saying that “someone reported an illegal gathering taking place here.”

An Early Rain member who declined to be named said around a dozen police officers broke up the meeting.

Authorities in China were reported to have offered cash rewards to whoever would report “illegal religious activities.”

A report in China Christian Daily said that in the city of Qiqihar, people are told to report “unqualified religious personnel,” “preaching and distributing printed religious works,” and “private house gatherings,” among others.

It says that the measures aim to “strengthen the control of illegal religious activities in the district, prevent any COVID-19 cluster resulting from religious gatherings, mobilize the public to engage in preventing, suppressing illegal religious activities, and ensure a harmonious and stable religious landscape.”

Unauthorized religious training and summer or winter camps attended by minors, or any religious activity for “parenting purposes” are prohibited and should be reported.

Unapproved Internet religious information, religious donation campaigns that violate the law, and charitable activities for evangelism are also included.

Some 300 million Christians experienced persecution between 2017 and 2019, according to Aid to the Church in Need. (shutterstock.com photo)

Since last year, city and county governments in places like Fujian, Guangxi, Henan, Hebei and Liaoning have been offering financial incentives for informants.

Open Doors USA, which monitors persecution in over 60 countries, estimates that there are about 97 million Christians in China, a large percentage of whom worship in what China considers to be “illegal” and unregistered underground house churches.

The Christian Post reported that religious persecution in China intensified in 2020, with thousands of Christians affected by church closures and other human rights abuses.

Under the direction of President Xi Jinping, officials from the Chinese Communist Party, or CCP, have been enforcing strict controls on religion, according to a report released in March by the US-based group China Aid.

Authorities in China are also cracking down on Christianity by removing Bible apps and Christian WeChat public accounts as new highly restrictive administrative measures on religious staff went into effect this year.

China is ranked on Open Doors USA’s World Watch List as one of the worst countries in the world when it comes to the persecution of Christians.

The US State Department has also labeled China as a “country of particular concern” for “continuing to engage in particularly severe violations of religious freedom.” – with a report from Radio Free Asia

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