Authorities in southwestern China’s Sichuan province made another raid on the Early Rain Covenant Church in the capital city of Chengdu, RFA reported.
Seven church members and 12 children were taken away by police after a raid on a church-run study session at around 10:30 a.m. local time on Wednesday.
All 19 people have been taken to the local police station for questioning, church member Joseph Pan told RFA in an interview on Thursday.
“Police from the Yongningjie Police Station in Wenjiang District took a group of children from the church members to the police station, where they detained them in the absence of their parents,” Pan said.
“These police actions are a serious violation of the Chinese constitution,” he said.
Chinese law requires a minor’s parents to be present for the police to arrest them.
“In raiding and persecuting house churches and Protestants, the city’s police and other departments have plummeted to new low morality,” he said.
US-based Christian human rights group, ChinaAid, reported that 16 of the 19 detainees were released at around 9 p.m. on Wednesday, local time.
The remaining three are in detention center with no reason for their families.
“Police are supposed to have guardians if they want to detain the minors, since they are children,” Pan said.
“But the Chengdu police are willing to cross that basic humanitarian line and arrest Christians for credit from their superiors,” he said.
China is violating its own laws
ChinaAid President Bob Fu called on the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to end the persecution of house churches.
“Some teenagers and teachers of the Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu were arbitrarily arrested by the police, just because they were Christians who met to talk and talk,” said Fu. study together.
“This is a clear violation of the Chinese constitution and the principle of freedom of religion that is regulated by international law and inscribed in rights treaties and treaties,” he said.
He called on the Chengdu government to ensure that Christians have the freedom to practice their religion.
Lots of abuse
Earlier this year, an annual report from the Executive Committee of the Chinese National Assembly (CECC) showed that the CCP “took unprecedented steps to expand repression” by 2020.
It details a wide range of abuses, including “the abuse of freedom of religion and expression.”
In June 2020, the State Department’s annual freedom of religion report shows that while China’s constitution promises citizens freedom of religion, it limits measures to protect practices. religion is in “ordinary religious activities” and does not define “normal”.
“The government continued to control religion and restrict the activities and personal freedoms of religious followers that they viewed as threatening the interests of the state or the CCP,” the report cites religious groups. and human rights groups.
The government continued its campaign to assimilate religion, the report said, to bring all religious doctrines and practices in line with the CCP’s doctrine, adopting an official five-year plan on January 7, 2020.
“Officials across the country have closed religious sites, including some affiliated with authorized patriotic religious associations, and placed surveillance cameras in worship churches as a thing.” to allow these sites to continue “.
Qiao Long’s Report to RFA’s Mandarin Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.