Inside sources revealed that authorities organized an operation in March to arrest Christians in the city of Suzhou in Anhui Province.
According to government insiders, on March 23, 2018, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) launched a campaign against Christian house churches in the Suzhou area of Anhui Province and arrested many believers. One of them was a member of the “Shouters,” a Protestant religious movement named for their practice of calling the name of the Lord out loud. The Chinese authorities designate a large variety of communities to the “Shouters,” including both the Christian movement known in the West as the Local Church or the Recovery Movement and groups that are not part of the Church.
Witnesses report that in the afternoon on March 23, a follower of the “Shouters,” Zhang Jun (pseudonym), picked up his grandson from school and came home when about 20 policemen suddenly broke in and arrested him. Zhang demanded to know why he was being arrested, to which an officer relied that they had received information that he was a believer in God. Despite his protests, police forcibly escorted Zhang to a local detention center.
Policemen returned to raid Zhang’s house later in the afternoon and found two boxes of religious books and more than 10,000 pages of gospel preaching materials in an unused sheep pen and an old washing machine.
The next day, Zhang’s wife rushed to the detention center to deliver a quilt to him. The police only promised to hand over the quilt without letting the couple meet.
Witnesses report that several days before Zhang was arrested, he had been tracked and monitored by an unidentified person. In the evening of March 21, when Zhang was taking a stroll with his wife, a man came out of a black sedan parked on the roadside and got back in the car quickly. He asked another person sitting in the car, “Is that him?” The person in the car said: “It’s him.”
On March 22, a stranger photographed Zhang talking to several neighbors by the door of a village store. When Zhang asked the man why he had taken their pictures, the man just evaded the answer. The stranger showed the mobile phone to his companion and asked, “Is it him?” and then left.
An inside source in the Public Security Bureau said Zhang Jun was arrested as part of an organized operation. “On March 23 alone, many believers were arrested. There wasn’t enough room for interrogation,” said the source.
It is understood that a week after Zhang was arrested, his family hired a lawyer for him, but the police refused to let Zhang meet with his lawyer on the grounds that “this case is under investigation.” At present, Zhang has not been released, and there is no information on other arrested believers.
Reported by Jiang Tao