On May 3, Chinese officials raided a private residence in Xiamen city in Fujian province while members of a church were holding a worship service. During the police raid, authorities confiscated cell phones, injured several people, and detained six of the church’s members.
“You have entered my house, you grab our cell phones, you beat up people, you intrude violently,” said one member in a video posted by Chinese Christian Fellowship of Righteousness. “This is not allowed!”
Xingguang Church members had gathered to worship in one member’s home in Jimei district. Around 9 a.m. the meeting was interrupted by “dozens of security guards and officers from the local Ethnic and Religious Bureau,” says International Christian Concern (ICC). Officers entered without any warrant and said the worship service was “illegal.” Government officials had previously raided the church, which is not registered with the state, on April 19.
Police Raid Xingguang Church Again
Several videos have been posted online showing authorities breaking into the residence and engaging in physical altercations with worshippers in a chaotic scene filled with yelling. Several men tried to stop the intruders from entering the home, but were unsuccessful.
When the worshippers resisted, authorities dragged them out of the residence, repeatedly telling those recording the incident, “Stop filming!” This video from a preacher named Yang Xibo from Xunsiding Church shows police forcing members’ heads to the ground.
Watchdog group ChinaAid reports authorities used violence against some of the women present and also took people’s cell phones. ChinaAid founder and president Bob Fu posted a video of the events, tweeting that church member Xu Wenping (who later filed a police report) received a fractured rib and bruises on his chest and forearms. Two other people were injured in the altercations as well.
— Bob Fu傅希秋 (@BobFu4China) May 3, 2020
Authorities harassed neighbors as well as the church members, even removing a family from one home for filming the disturbance. Police also entered and inspected several other residences.
Officials detained six male church members after the police raid and released them at 9:00 p.m. that evening. Xingguang Church’s pastor, Titus Yu, has been warned that his church is prohibited from meeting.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has not flagged in its persecution of believers, even during the coronavirus pandemic. The government has blocked churches from livestreaming their services and censored church members’ communications on social media.
Authorities have also continued to oppress Early Rain Covenant Church, arresting some members as they were participating in an online service on Easter Sunday. ChinaAid reports that officials have since continued to monitor Early Rain’s activities, as evidenced by the fact that police have been summoning members to order them to stop their online activities, but only do so when the members are meeting online.
Open Doors president and CEO David Curry believes that China’s oppression of people of faith stands out compared to religious persecution in other countries. Said Curry, “China is creating what I believe is a ‘persecution roadmap’ against religious faith. It is the greatest threat, in my opinion, to human rights today.”