China Aid Association Aug 5, 2013
Yesterday morning (August 4, 2013), Pastor Tan Wen was leading a worship service at Muen Church in Urumqi, Xinjiang, attended by several dozen believers. Around9:30, more than 20 police officers from Shayibake Regional Branch of the Urumqi Municipal Public Security Bureau and from the Xishan Police Station broke into the church. The officers did not show identification papers or follow other applicable procedures. Instead, they forcibly terminated the worship service and seized the Bibles, hymnals, and other books that the believers were using. The police also tried to take away Pastor Tan, but the congregation blocked the door and negotiated with the police, asking why they were being harassed, to which the officers answered that they were not permitted to gather and would be arrested every time they came together. The police then exited the church through a back door, taking Pastor Tan with them to the police station. That same night, Pastor Tan was transferred to the Xishan Police Station and then to a detention center; the police announced that he would be detained for 15 days.
Pastor Tan has been detained before. (See China Aid’s report dated June 9, 2013: https://chinaaid.org/2013/07/two-more-house-churches-raided-in.html.) Following his release from that detention, Pastor Tan and the Muen Church filed an application for administrative reconsideration with the Urumqi Municipal Public Security Bureau, and were also preparing to file a lawsuit to safeguard their religious freedom and rights and to protect the church’s property. Yesterday’s detention is retaliation for those actions.
The past few Sundays, China Aid has received many reports of persecution from around China, including the detention of many pastors and hundreds of believers. The persecution has been particularly severe in Xinjiang, and the house churches there have come under unprecedented pressure. This oppression, including the persecution of the Muen Church, is a serious violation of the believers’ religious freedom. China Aid calls on the Christians in China and around the world to pray for the house churches and believers that are suffering persecution.
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