|Children attend a house church’s
(Photo: China Aid)
By Brynne Lawrence
(Chuzhou, Anhui—Aug. 13, 2015) Local government officials raided a house church in China’s eastern Anhui province on July 28 and issued a notice demanding the church stop its religious activities.
Qiaotou House Church in Chuzhou was leading a summer camp for 20 elementary and secondary school children when they were surrounded by 20 special police officers, more than 100 regular police, education bureau officials, two principals and a teacher. The church was accused of arranging a private meeting place, which is against China’s religious policy. The police and officials took all 20 students away and detained a church member.
During the raid, government officials took photographs and filmed the incident. When church members attempted to record the encounter on their phones, police confiscated the phones, injuring one man’s wrist in the process.
Because of the church’s violation of religious policy, the government issued an administrative penalty notice, which stated that the church must stop their religious activities immediately. Lu told China Aid’s reporter that he negotiated with the government officials. An official attempted to force him to sign the administrative penalty notice, but he refused, he said.
According to Chinese law, children under the age of 18 may not learn about religion. As a result, the children’s parents were sternly warned not to allow them to participate in the summer camp. Lu recounts, “The night before the summer camp, teachers went to the children’s family to talk to the parents and forbade the children from participating in the church activities.” However, since the children came from Christian families, their parents wanted them to develop Christian characters and sent them anyway, Lu said. The church continued the summer camp the next day.