Chinese Police Detain Churchgoers When Raiding Their Home Church

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Posted: Mar 20, 2021 5:50 PM
Chinese Police Detain Churchgoers When Raiding Their Home Church

Source: AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File

Considering the list of human rights atrocities China has committed, namely the current genocide against the Muslim Uyghurs minorities, it was maddening to hear that they dared to lecture the United States in our handling of race and human rights in what was just a preview to the main event between Chinese and United States top officials.

Remarks included:

On human rights, we hope that the United States will do better on human rights. China has made steady progress in human rights, and the fact is that there are many problems within the United States regarding human rights, which is admitted by the U.S. itself as well. The United States has also said that countries can't rely on force in today's world to resolve the challenges we face. And it is a failure to use various means to topple the so-called authoritarian states.

Adding to that indignation, then, is that that same week churchgoers were detained after their home church was raided on March 16, as reported by Radio Free Asia. Authorities in the Guizhou province raided the Ren'ai Reformed Church--a Protestant house church--and detailed "more than a dozen" of parishioners, according to a local Christian, known only by Huang.

ChinaAid, in their reporting of the events, noted that Ren'ai Reformed Church has "steadfastly refused to join the government-sanctioned Three-Self church."

Church leader Zhang Chulei was also detained after checking in with the police to ask about the churchgoers. RFA reported:

Zhang, who leads the church, was one of the first Protestant pastors to sign a Declaration of the Christian Faith started by jailed pastor Wang Yi.

Prior to the raid, he had already been subjected to repeated surveillance and harassment by the state security police and barred from participating in any religious activities, and from communicating with other church members.

Zhang in 2018 signed onto a joint statement "for the sake of the Christian faith," initiated by Pastor Wang Yi, of the Chengdu Early Rain Covenant Church. In December of that year, WORLD Magazine reported raids on the church and its schools and seminaries. Churchgoers who refused to sign a document that Early Rain was an "illegal gathering" and promise that they would not step foot in the church again were arrested. 

It's a travesty to freedom-loving people around the world, but it's not a surprising move from the Communist superpower.

As International Christian Concern reported, house churches in Hebei and Beijing were subject to raids over several days earlier this year, from January 25 to January 29. 

Last May, the ICC reported on cell phone video footage showing the police officers violently and without warning shutting down a service at the Xingguang Church in the Jimei district. Many men and women were injured, including while filming, and many were detained.

Just earlier this month, the ICC reported on a "Freedom in the World" report from Freedom House, which has designated China to be a "Not Free" country, with the lowest score possible, a zero, on terms of religious freedom. In discussing the report, ICC points out that "China is fast becoming one of the world leaders in religious persecution." They released their own report last summer on "Religious Suppression in China," warning that "Beijing and other local governments have evolved in their crackdown against churches throughout China."

Freedom House last month issued a letter to the Biden administration on "Joint Letter: A Human Rights Approach to US-China Policy."

The Human Rights Watch, which has pages devoted to China focus on "Events from 2019" and "Events from 2020," also wrote a 2020 World Report with regards to "China’s Global Threat to Human Rights."

While pandemic restrictions have been discussed in light of the recent raids, such suppression on freedom of religion has been ongoing for years.