|Christians from unregistered churches, such as
this one, are often interrogated and detained for
practicing their faith. (Photo: ChinaAid)
(Urumqi, Xinjiang—March 15, 2018) Breaking into a church in China’s northwestern Xinjiang on Monday, officials accused the 10 Christians meeting there of gathering illegally and detained three of the members.
A Christian said that policemen and religious affairs bureau agents interrupted a service at Jiamei Church in Urumqi, saying the church members gathered illegally and “violated the Religious Affairs Regulations” by meeting in an unregistered venue. They then took the Christians to the police station and interrogated them.
Authorities also tried to make a church member surnamed Huang and three other women sign a document admitting that they gathered illegally and incited and tricked their congregation, promising to release them as soon as they signed it. When the Christians refused, they were administratively detained on a 10-day sentence.
“The government fabricated the crimes simply because they were members of a house church and had participated in Sunday gatherings,” an anonymous Christian familiar with the situation said.
Urumqi is becoming increasingly hostile towards people with religious beliefs, and many of them are no longer able to enter or exit religious venues freely. Officials often require them to present identification cards when entering state-run religious institutions, including the official Three-Self Churches.
ChinaAid exposes abuses, such as those suffered by the members of Jiamei Church, in order to stand in solidarity with persecuted Christians and promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law.