Source: Direct Reports from China
Date: May 18, 2018
Bitter Winter has learned that at about 2 p.m. on April 15, 2018, the police raided a local church in the city of Bengbu, Anhui, arresting more than ten believers who attended the meeting.
According to inside sources, three or four police officers in plain clothes broke into the house when more than 20 believers were having a breaking of bread meeting. At the same time, a dozen or so police officers guarded the door. Afterward, the police pulled down the roll-up door and commanded the believers not to move. One of the policemen took out the money (about 1,800 RMB) from the offering box and stuffed all of it into his pocket, saying that the money was confiscated. Later, he picked up and looked at a Bible, scolding that it was different from the version approved by the State Administration for Religious Affairs, and it must be confiscated. Moreover, he collected all the money the believers carried with them and said he would return it when everything was clear.
Believers of all ages, children among them, were present at the meeting. When the incident happened, they were all in panic and at a loss. The children were so scared that they were crying hard. An elder believer questioned the police why they were arresting them. “We believe in the Lord Jesus and we don’t break the law or do anything bad,” he said. The police didn’t answer. In the end, about 15 young believers were taken to the local police station and, one hour later, transferred to the criminal police brigade of the local police bureau.
Some of the arrested believers revealed that the police confiscated all copies of the Bible found at the meeting place. “We heard that they would be burnt. After arriving at the criminal police brigade, the police asked us to register for credentials and told us that this was the only way we could continue our belief. The police also claimed that the Government protects only the churches controlled by the Three-Self Church. Since our Church was not the case, the Government doesn’t protect us,” recounted the believers.
The following day after the arrest, these believers were taken to hospital for a blood test. At 1 p.m. that day, they were released. Xu Fan, a church leader who was among those arrested, was detained for half a month, from April 17 to May 1, in the Bengbu City Detention Center.