A house where children from a persecuted megachurch were being homeschooled in Chengdu, China was raided by a group of police officers and government officials. The incident was mentioned by the church on social media and is asking for prayers from Christians around the world, a report says.
The homeschooled children of Early Rain Covenant Church (ERCC) were playing together when the home was raided on Thursday morning by a group consisting of police officers, education bureau officials, national security officers and urban management officers.
"The police are now raiding the home. There are a large number of police officers outside and inside of brother Liang Huali and Sister Shu Qiong's home, and they are currently removing brother Liang's personal belongings. Please pray!" the church pleaded on Facebook.
Urgent prayer request: At 7:00 this morning, a large group of police officers, education bureau officials, national...
China Aid has reported that ERCC has been experiencing significant and persistent persecution from Chinese government since December of 2018. Authorities have closed down the church and arrested more than a hundred members and elders.
A report from China Partnership has also said that in the winter of 2019, ERCC's elder Qin Defu and Pastor Wang Yi were sentenced to four and nine years in criminal detention, respectively. Further, the government has seized and destroyed property belonging to the church and its members. Many families have also faced persecution by either being evicted from their homes or deported from Chengdu to their hometowns in distant provinces.
Open Doors USA's World Watch List says that China ranks as one of the worst countries in the world on the basis of Christian persecution. At least half of the country's Christian population are attending unregistered or "illegal" underground churches. In accordance with the study published by Pew Research Center dated April 1, 2019, China has an estimated population of more than 70 million Christians or about 5.2 percent of the country's population.
The incident took place at the home of Preacher An Yankui. Officials have confiscated Christian books, and detained the preacher and five church members attending a Bible study. The church members were released on New Year's Eve but Preacher An was held in administrative detention for 15 days.
Xuncheng Church has earlier received a disbandment notice from the police when it was raided on Nov. 15. In April, Public Security Bureau has also arrested several of its church members for their participation in an online Easter worship service on Zoom and ordered to stop all religious activities.
An ERCC supporter narrated the story on Twitter saying that security officials have managed to get into these Christian families' homes by pretending to have casual conversations. When they were invited to join the worship service and discovered that the sermon was from Pastor Wang Yi, they have immediately ordered to shut it down.
The Chinese Communist Party has also forced other churches to close down such as Rongguili Church in Guangzhou and Xunsiding Church in Xiamen.
The U.S. State Department has labeled China as a "country of particular concern" for its engagement in severe violations of religious freedom.