Source: Direct Reports from China
Date: May 28, 2018
Bitter Winter has learned that, on May 6, 2018, the police raided a house church meeting place in Xiaoguan, a town in Henan near the city of Gongyi, arresting seven Christians.
At about 2 p.m. that day, four policemen from the police station in Xiaoguan town, together with three government workers broke into a local house church meeting place and forcibly arrested and escorted seven Christians to a local police station. Three of these people are in their seventies.
Later that day, the village secretary and the director of social security of the village paid a visit to the police station. They interceded with the director of the police station on behalf of the Christians, asking him to release them. The director of social security said that one of the arrested, Zhi, was 72 years old, and she had to take care of two granddaughters since her son and daughter-in-law were out of town. If Zhi were sent to the detention center, her two granddaughters would be left unattended. The director added that these Christians just believed in God and had a meeting; they did not do anything wrong. Yang, the director of the police station, replied, “No matter whether they do something wrong or not, house church meeting places must be banned. We will seize any such meeting place we find. Today, I will release them for your sake. But if they are caught one more time, I’ll send them straight to the detention center!”
At 11 p.m. that night, all seven Christians were finally released. According to one of them, before he was released, the police warned him not to attend church meetings in future. If he continued to do so and were caught again, he would be detained for half a month. If he still refused to give it up, he would be sent to the Zhengzhou Labor Re-education Camp.
Bitter Winter reports on how religions are allowed, or not allowed, to operate in China and how some are severely persecuted after they are labeled as “xie jiao,” or heterodox teachings. We publish news difficult to find elsewhere, analyses, and debates.
Placed under the editorship of Massimo Introvigne, one of the most well-known scholars of religion internationally, “Bitter Winter” is a cooperative enterprise by scholars, human rights activists, and members of religious organizations persecuted in China (some of them have elected, for obvious reasons, to remain anonymous).