Chinese authorities raided a house church in Chongqing and returned days later to confiscate church materials from the property.
The Yuzhong District Ethnic and Religious Affairs Bureau on March 21 raided the Mt. Olive Church in Chongqing, where several members of the house church were sent home during the raid. Chinese police sealed off the church without presenting legal documents and captured Pastor Zhu Dong and several other house church leaders, who were taken to the police station.
International Christian Concern reported that just three days following the raid at Mt. Olive Church in Chongqing, Chinese officials returned to confiscate items, including chairs and books, again without presenting proper documentation.
The Chinese police were seen with moving trucks just outside the church, into which the confiscated church belongings was loaded and taken away, ChinaAid reported.
Christian persecution and abuse in the hands of the Chinese police isn't new to members of Mt. Olive Church in Chongqing. Back in January of 2018, the Mt. Olive Reformed School, which was founded by the same church, was raided and sealed off by Chinese police for being an "illegal venue for proselytization."
According to the International Religious Freedom Report 2010: China, proselytizing or the act of religious conversion is only allowed in china in "registered places of worship and in private settings."
Such acts in public or unregistered places of worship or those conducted by foreigners are not permitted. Thus, "house churches" are often the targets of Chinese police as they are "not permitted to openly hold religious services unless they affiliate with a patriotic religious association." They are also targeted for "illegal religious activities" or "disrupting social stability."
Chongqing is no stranger to raids by the Chinese police. Earlier this month, Chinese police in plainclothes descended upon the Living Fountain Church during its Sunday service to confiscate two computers and capture two Christians. Chinese police also demanded the church to refrain from gathering to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and because the church had "not registered itself."
The week before the February 28 raid, Chinese police already visited the church to warn them to refrain from gathering because they lacked government registration. The church was also reprimanded for having minors amongst their members.
Results of a poll released this month showed that there has been an increased concern among the U.S. Catholics regarding Christian persecution around the world. A survey revealed that up to 57% of U.S. Catholics believe persecution of Christians around the world is 'very severe," compared to last year's 41%. Up to 67% expressed that they were "very concerned" about Christian persecution around the world and 61% of U.S. Catholics admitted to donating to organizations that assisted persecuted Christians.
Last week, the U.S. Department of State Secretary Antony Blinken released a statement announcing the sanctions imposed against several Chinese authorities "in response to serious human rights abuse against members of ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang," where the most terrifying human rights abuses and religious persecution is occuring in communist China.