On Sunday, Chinese authorities raided several homes of Chinese Christians and arrested around 100 believers.
The South China Morning Post reported that the Chinese government targeted the members of the Early Rain Covenant Church throughout multiple districts of Chengdu.
The raid started as the government blocked the member’s social media channels and their cell group discussions. Then they cut their phone lines.
Authorities made their way to the homes of the leaders of the church as well as the pastor, Wang Yi, and proceeded to raid them.
Zhang Guoquing, the assistant deacon who was one of the church members arrested, was released on Monday morning and is being watched by “security personnel” in his home.
Zhang told the South China Morning Post that he went to the pastor’s home on Sunday after he heard about the raids. The pastor and his wife, he said, were nowhere to be found.
“His home was ransacked,” he said. “It was a mess.”
Additionally, Zhang told the Morning Post that when the police released him, they told him the church gatherings were “illegal.”
“The police said our church is an illegal organization and we cannot attend any more gatherings from now on,” he said.
Unlike other Christian churches who operate underground, the Morning Post notes that the Early Rain Covenant Church operates openly by “posting sermons online and evangelising (sic) on the streets.”
Because of the openness to publically share their faith, this is not the first time members of the church have been arrested.
“This round of crackdown is unusual as it seems that the authorities want to close the church down for good,” church elder Li Yingqiang said. “Our social media channel accounts such as WeChat were not closed in previous rounds and they have taken a large number of our members into custody this time. The scale was unprecedented.”
Bob Fu, president of China Aid, an organization dedicated to promoting freedom of religion in China, said, “The massive overnight attack against members of the independent, renowned Early Rain Covenant Church represents a major escalation of religious persecution in China.”
“Ironically this largest scale of arrests and clamp down on the international Human Rights Day shows Xi’s regime deliberately making itself the enemy of universal values, such as religious freedom for all,” he adds.
The Autumn Street York Church released an emergency prayer asking God to help them stay patient in the suffering.
“O Lord, look at the grievances of your children, and this country trample (sic) on the dignity of your children, but these children are the pupils of your eyes. You will have to heal these scars with your loving hands and let us learn from the suffering and learn the patience of Christ,” the prayer read. “Lord, may you come soon!”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.