Police had conducted a raid on a church meeting of an independent Protestant in the Sichuan province and sent to jail two surprised church members.
The raid also resulted in several minors placed under custody.
Religious groups were appalled with this latest crackdown by Chinese authorities.
CHENGDU, SICHUAN, CHINA — According to reports, Chengdu police moved in and disrupted a gathering of the members of the Early Rain Covenant Church after breaking into the home of church member Dai Zhichao in the provincial capital of Sichuan.
Early Rain Covenant Church has faced pressure before from the Chinese regime for many years but the recent ‘attack’ has caught church members by surprise, according to reports from Radio Free Asia (RFA).
Following the raid, police placed meeting host Dai and church member He Shan under custodial detention for 14 days.
Members had gathered for their Sunday meeting when state security police and officials from the municipal religious affairs bureau conducted the raid, said a church member only identified as Li.
“At around 11 in the morning of 22 August, during the Sunday meeting of the Chengdu Early Rain Covenant Church, the (group) was illegally assaulted by police from the Mengchaiwan police station in Chenghua district,” said Li describing the police raid.
“More than a dozen children were taken away,” he added.
RFA said it has seen video clips that showed police breaking into Dai’s home without showing a search warrant.
During the raid, Early Covenant members said the police were very rude, forced their way in through the door and took everyone’s details, including the children’s.
“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,” another member said.
They were reported
“A group of brothers and sisters had gathered at a brother’s house, and the police came, saying that they had received reports from the public that there was an illegal assembly taking place,” he said.
“The brothers and sisters opened the door and asked the police to show a search warrant or they wouldn’t let them enter. But the police were very rude, forced their way in through the door and took everyone’s details, including the children’s.”
A police officer reportedly kicked church member Shu Qiong in the leg after she protested when police hit her eight-year-old son over the head with a water bottle.
The children were taken to a police station for questioning but were released later in the evening. Since then they have been incommunicado.
The Early Rain Church, which has about 500 members, issued a statement on Facebook expressing concerns over the arrests and requesting all to pray for the detainees.
Old issues relived
Rights groups reported that several members of the church detained in raids in December 2018 and later released were subjected to beatings by police while they were tied to a chair and starved without food and water for 24 hours.
As the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) adopted repressive new regulations on religious affairs in early 2018 leading to an intensified crackdown on unregistered churches and religious organizations, about 116 pastors including Wang Yi of Early Rain signed a statement condemning ‘unjust actions’ by the regime.
This statement is believed to because why the religious group drew the ire of the authorities against Wang and the Early Rain Church. (TRC/The MiNT)