A house church in China’s Henan province is reeling after its student summer camp was raided by authorities.
More than 30 officials raided a house church near Gushi Third Middle School North Campus on 23rd August and charged the church with “conducting illegal religious activities."
The leader of the small church, Wang Guangming, told persecution watchdog China Aid that the church was hosting a summer camp that day and was teaching primary school children piano, guitar and music theory.
"I was not present at the church that day," he explained. "They came and said that we were gathering illegally and confiscated my personal property, including projector, desks, chairs, fans and speaker. They have not brought them back as of today."
A fellow member of the church claimed that officials from the Ethnic and Religious Affairs Bureau said they had received “a tip from residents” about the camp. The agents reportedly did not wear uniform nor did they show any formal identification. They also started taking photos and video footage as soon as they entered the premises. The pastor's wife was also detained by police.
The local Ethnic and Religious Affairs Bureau had previously stated that from 20th August to 20th September it would be conducting a month-long crackdown on religious activities across the region. Announcing the initiative late last month, the Bureau even provided a hotline for locals to report and submit relevant videos, recordings, or pictures if they suspected illegal religious activity. Those who report this information are offered a financial reward of $72 and their identities will remain protected.