China Aid Association
(Ulanhot, Inner Mongolia—April 2, 2012) In a blatant trampling of religious freedom, police in Inner Mongolia broke up a prayer meeting of house church lay leaders over the weekend and warned the participants not to hold any meetings for Easter, the most important event on the Christian calendar.
More than 20 house church lay leaders had gathered for a prayer meeting Saturday afternoon, March 31, in Ulanhot when about 10 police and government officials from the local police station, the national Domestic Security Protection Department, the Public Security Bureau and the Religious Affairs Bureau burst into the meeting and broke it up, saying it was an illegal meeting. The police and officials took photographs of all the participants, including brother Ning Mengyao from neighboring Jilin province who was leading the meeting.
The police and officials also confiscated the Christians’ notebook computers, cameras, cellphones as well as three or four cases of Christian books legally published by the government’s own Christian publishing house in Nanjing, the Amity Press. The police refused to give a receipt for any of the confiscated items as required by law. They also warned all the participants that they were not allowed to hold any meetings related to Easter. Traditionally, Christians mark the week leading up to Easter, which this year is April 8, with Holy Week or Passion Week activities on Thursday and Friday. The Easter activities culminate with a joyous celebration on Resurrection Sunday.
ChinaAid expresses its strong condemnation of this action in Ulanhot and calls on local authorities throughout China to respect the religious beliefs and practices of Christians and churches in China during this Passion Week and on Easter Day and to protect the lawful rights of Chinese citizens to freedom of religion. ChinaAid also urges the Hulanhot authorities to immediately return the confiscated personal and church belongings. ChinaAid will continue to closely monitor developments in this case.