Date: December 16, 2018
(Deyang, Sichuan—December 15, 2018) Sichuan police launched a massive raid upon local Christian house churches on Dec. 9. More than 100 people from Chengdu’s Early Rain Covenant Church have been detained, including nine church members who are being held in criminal detention or under “residential surveillance.”
Early Rain Qingcaodi Church, located in Deyang, Sichuan, was one of the raided branches of the church. Multiple cops broke into the church on Dec. 12, dispelling the church’s staff, who were studying the Bible. and posting a shutdown notice issued by the local ethnic and religious affairs and civil affairs bureaus on the door. According to some members of the church, a minister’s home was broken into at the same time, but nothing was stolen.
Members of Early Rain Qingcaodi Church said local officials and police put pressure on the landlord and took written records of their conversations on Dec. 11 and 12, demanding the landlord break the lease with the church, which won’t expire until next March. They even ordered the church to move before Dec.12; otherwise, they said they will a fine of 200,000 yuan [about $29,000 USD]. Elders of the church refused to comply, saying they will still worship at the church.
Authorities have been continuously harassing Early Rain Qingcaodi Church since October. The ethnic and religious affairs bureau attempted to learn the amount the church receives in offerings from Christians, but the Christians would not tell them. They also refused to take down the “Love Jesus” sign posted on the window. Consequently, church members were questioned at their homes by local officials.
Church members said that authorities did all this with the primary goal of shutting down the church.
Regarding authorities’ crackdown and persecution of Chengdu’s Early Rain Covenant Church, a Presbyterian organization sent a prayer request letter to all churches on Dec. 12, stating that the persecution is a spiritual war against all of God’s people and that all Christians should be involved.
The letter calls on all churches by saying, “ … we call on the saints in God’ churches to join us in this battle with your prayers, encouragement, and consolation and give practical help in your full strength, in love to those who are suffering—for instance, by visiting their families, taking care of their kids, cooking, and opening your home to those in need.””
The letter continues to urge them to pray for every team of church workers and every congregant of Early Rain Covenant Church. It also encourages people to pray for police and neighborhood officers involved in the event.
ChinaAid exposes abuses, such as those suffered by Early Rain Covenant Church members, in order to stand in solidarity with the persecuted and promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law.
ChinaAid Media Team
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