Chinese police have raided a house church in the province of Chengdu. The police stormed Early Rain Covenant Church (ERCC) on August 22, seizing twenty-eight members during a worship service.
According to the church, the raid was conducted following a small group gathering. The police claimed that someone had reported the illegal gathering and demanded everyone’s personal information. The pastor in attendance, Dai Zhichao, offered to show the authorities the relevant documentation for the service but the police ignored him and stormed into the home where the group was gathered.
Dai's arm was injured in the incident, with police also confiscating his mobile phone. The police officers then went outside, where church members continued to share a meal together as they always do. At around 2 pm, officers began detaining people, taking away 18 adults and 10 children, including an infant who is not even one year old.
An ERCC member told International Christian Concern (ICC) that many people were beaten by the police in detention, and the children were threatened. Most of those detained were later released, however, Preacher Dai was placed under administrative detention for 14 days, along with the owner of the house, Brother He. Brother He was also administered a fine of 1,000 RMB ($154).
Gina Goh, ICC’s Regional Manager for Southeast Asia, said: “The latest raid against ERCC, though nothing novel, shows a worrying trend that house churches are frequently subjected to harassment like this in the name of ‘law enforcement,’ where legally flawed Revised Regulations on Religious Affairs have been employed by Beijing to crack down on house churches around the country.
"The Chinese Communist Party’s constant fear of unregistered churches is both pathetic and preposterous, as it underscores President Xi’s insecurity toward any critical mass. There is absolutely no regard for religious freedom.”