House Church in Henan Raided on Mid-Autumn Festival Day

ChinaAid translated the report on the house church in Nanyang by Voice of America (VOA).
By Voice of America
English Translation by ChinaAid | PDF
September 29, 2010
A house church meeting in Nanyang, Henan province was raided on Mid-Autumn Festival Day. This particular house church meeting was joined by two foreign pastors. All who were in attendance, including the foreign pastors, were taken in by the police during the raid and are now being held at a local detention center. According to a report, the police conducted this raid on the grounds that they were participating in an “illegal gathering.”
“Operation Mid-Autumn Festival”
According to a press release published on September 23, 2010 by the US-based ChinaAid Association, on September 22nd around 4 p.m.,  police suddenly burst into a meeting of house church members in Wancheng District, Nanyang City, Henan Province. The believers were gathered in Chen Peng where they were praying and studying the Bible. Over 30 people were apprehended and they are being held at a detention center in Yonganlu District in Nanyang City.
Church Members Assaulted
After visiting with the church members that were detained, a young woman from the congregation told VOA, “The police suddenly raided the gathering of the house church and attacked some brothers and sisters. [The detained Christians] were sentenced to be held for 10 days; today is the third day. As they were gathering last Wednesday, the police suddenly broke in and beat one of my co-workers. Pa! Pa! they hit the co-worker without saying anything.”
Sister Zhang, an eyewitness, continued with more details. According to her, the Christian who was beaten at the gathering was Ma Hanzhong. Sister Zhang said, “This is how it happened: On that day, over 10 police officers came to the gathering, took away the group, and attacked Ma Hanzhong on the spot. Then, they counted the people and took them to Yonganlu Detention Center.”
Sister Zhang said that she was lucky to escape being taken away by the police because she is very old and it is difficult to register her personal information.
Foreign Pastors
According to ChinaAid, an American pastor and a Russian pastor were among those detained by Nanyang police in Henan. Concerning this, Sister Zhang said, “Yes, yes, but I don’t know what has happened to them as of now. They were with Ma Hanzhong. When the police arrested people, they arrested the foreign pastors first. Two of our instructors — that is, the two pastors — were taken away first. Then, they questioned us one by one and booked our information. The translator was taken away along with them.”
Terrible Food in the Detention Center
According to Sister Zhang, she and the other members of the local house church have gone to visit the detainees at Anyang Detention Center. “The food there is very bad, and it took us much time and effort before we could get some Chinese pickles into their facilities. Life inside the detention center is awful. For one thing, the quality of the food is inadequate. In the morning, they eat steamed buns and noodle soup, and at lunchtime they eat noodles. There are no side dishes neither lunch nor breakfast. That is why we brought some Chinese pickles and chili sauce.”
Cigarettes Requested as Bribes
While talking about the hassle of getting  fo

od to the detention center, Dr. Lu said that the officials in the detention center wanted toll money (a form of bribery) before giving them access to the detainees. “We arrived at the detention center and were told we couldn’t visit the inmates unless we brought two packs of cigarettes with us. We tried to convince them to let us in by telling them that it was very cold in the detention center and that the detainees were only wearing short-sleeved clothing when they left. At the time of the arrest, it was also raining so their clothes must have gotten wet. We told them we were there to give our fellow Christians some dry, warm clothes. They still would not let us see them, telling us that they were taking three days of vacation for the Mid-Autumn Festival. According to them, If we wanted to see the inmates we would have to buy two packs of cigarettes.”
Version of the Local Religious Organization
Because of the Mid-Autumn Festival, VOA’s attempts to contact the detention center in Nanyang through many channels came without success. Voice of America sought after the local official Christian Council for more information and a woman who answered the phone said that she had just heard about what had happened that day. “I just learned it, I just learned it. This afternoon (September 24), the head of the Council went to the Yonganlu Detention Center and they could not gather information about what happened earlier. On the day of the raid, they told us to go there, but we had some other engagements so we could not go. Since it was a house church we did not know the specifics. Everybody here said they would go and investigate, and we went there as private visitors.”
Spending the Mid-Autumn Festival in the Detention Center
For the well-being and safety of the detained Christians, a member of the house church in Wancheng District, Nanyang City, Henan Province bought cigarettes to bribe the officials, and was finally able to see Ma Hanzhong. It was supposed to be a day in China when families got together in towns, cities and in the countryside to celebrate the traditional holiday of Mid-Autumn Festival, but it was a day of distress and affliction for this Nanyang house church and their foreign guests.
A report by Voice of America.

Link (Chinese 中文): House Church in Henan was Raided on Mid-Autumn Festival Day

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