05/04/2020 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on May 3, local authorities violently raided a house church in China’s Xiamen city in Fujian province during Sunday worship. Several members were injured during the process as the police wrestled them to the ground and dragged them across the floor.
At 9:00 a.m., dozens of security guards and officers from the local Ethnic and Religious Bureau descended on Xingguang Church in Jimei district, as the members sang worship songs. Without any legal documentation, the authorities interrupted the service, calling the gathering “illegal.”
The male church members blocked the entrance, but were only able to resist for a short period of time. It did not take long for the authorities to rush in through the door and yell at the members, while demanding them to stop recording with their cell phones.
Seeing the resistance, the police dragged several members out of the door and snatched their cell phones. In a video shared by preacher Yang Xibo from Xunsiding Church, the police can be seen pressing members’ heads down to the ground. Others yelled, “Stop filming!” to church members and neighbors who were recording the violent intrusion.
In another video shared by the Chinese Christian Fellowship of Righteousness, a church member accused, “You have entered my house, you grab our cell phones, you beat up people, you intrude violently. This is not allowed!” Xingguang Church meets at a residence, since they have refused to join the state-vetted Three-self Church.
According to Bob Fu from China Aid, Xu Wenping suffered a chest contusion, a rib fracture, and a bruise on his arms. Two other men and women were injured during the clash as well. Children at the scene were frightened and screamed as they witnessed the chaotic incident.
At one point, the authorities forcibly entered an upstairs neighbor’s home and removed the family of three, since they were documenting the event. They also entered several homes without permission and inspected books, including those of children’s.
Six men were detained after the raid, and were only released at 9:00 p.m. Other church members welcomed them with applause and hugs as they stepped out of the police station.
Xingguan Church was previously raided on April 19 by government staff from five different departments. The church’s preacher, Titus Yu, received an advance notice of administrative punishment yesterday for violating several articles of the religious regulations. The notice asked him to correct his illegal act, or else his church would face disbandment as punishment.
Gina Goh, ICC’s Regional Manager for Southeast Asia, said, “Once the threat posed by the pandemic has reduced, China has resumed its crackdown against Christianity, whether the victims are house churches or not. In recent weeks, we have seen an increased number of church demolitions and cross removals on state-sanctioned churches across China, as house church gatherings continue to face interruption and harassment. It is deplorable that the local authorities not only conducted this raid without proper procedure, but deployed excessive use of force against church members and bystanders. ICC calls on the international community and the US government to condemn China’s constant human rights abuses.”
SOURCE International Christian Concern