Source: Direct Reports from China
Date: June 26, 2018
In April 2018, a dozen members of a Three-Self church in Ledu District of the city of Haidong, Qinghai Province, were holding a meeting when the landlord of the apartment came in and told them to leave the premises. Ten minutes later, the police showed up.
Five policemen, led by the chief of a local police station, forced their way into the apartment. Seeing that the believers were kneeling down in prayer, the chief ordered his subordinates to wreck the place. The officers immediately started smashing crosses, flowers, balloons, and other decorations in the room. They confiscated all Bibles and broke into a donations box, taking over 1,000 RMB. Next, the officers ordered the Christians to stand in a row and photographed them, one by one. The station chief scolded the Christians arrogantly, “You think you can believe in God on my turf? You are daydreaming!”
One of the believers, 62-year-old man Zhang Zhengyi (pseudonym), started arguing back and the chief ordered the policemen to take him away. Several officers stepped forward and wrestled Zhang to the ground, twisting his arms behind his back. After handcuffing him, they took him to the police station. Zhang Zhengyi’s son who was working away from home, knowing how the police treat believers, was distraught when he heard of his father’s arrest. He used his connections to release his father.
This incident is one more evidence of the increasing crackdown by Chinese authorities on religious beliefs in the country when even the government-controlled religious communities, belonging to the Three-Self Church – the official united Protestant church – are persecuted and suffer police brutality. According to Christians who were present during the raid, even though the incident happened over two months ago, they are still haunted by flashbacks of the police brutality. “In broad daylight, the police forced their way into our assembly place, ransacked it, and stole our donations. They’re worse than bandits,” one believer angrily said.