Police raided the Enze Fellowship in Guiyang City, Guizhou Province last Oct. 25 and seized the pastor, according to a report from nongovernment organization China Aid, which provides help to persecuted Christians in China. The church was holding a worship service at around 9 a.m. when the raid happened.
Pastor Dai Yankun and 10 other believers just finished singing the first hymn when special police officers and representatives from the Huaxi District Bureau of Ethnic and Religious Affairs came in and stopped the activity. Without presenting proper documents, the authorities brought the 10 church members to the police station.
They also took Dai Yankun and detained him on unspecified grounds. Later that day, they transferred him to an unknown location. His family has yet to receive information on when he would be released.
One of the church members said that when they got to the police station, authorities made them wear prison uniforms even though they weren't prisoners. He said they were subjected to an investigation, during which they were asked different questions, including where the church gets its funds and what the financial state of the church is. The police likewise collected their personal information.
During the course of their interrogation, a certain police officer persistently told the church members to become a part of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TPSM). They were all forced to sign a "letter of commitment." They were eventually released a few hours after the raid.
Prior to what happened, the public security bureau had reportedly approached the members of the Enze Fellowship several times and tried to convince them to join the TPSM. However, the church has been firm in its refusal to do so.
The Enze Fellowship is a part of the Enguang Church, also in Guiyang City, which is a house church led by Pastor Wu Xuechao. On the evening of the same day the Enze Fellowship was raided, police went to the house of Wu Xuechao, according to the International Christian Concern (ICC).
The police reportedly held Wu Xuechao prior to Oct. 25 and brought him to his home on that day to search his house without following the proper legal procedures. After conducting the search, they took him and his wife Yang Wei. No one has seen or heard from them since.
The couple has three children. The oldest is 7 years old while the youngest is but a year and 9 months old. They are presently under the care of their grandparents.
The police have not given any explanation as to why the three church leaders were detained. Twitter user @luohanguo said Dai Yankun, Wu Xuechao, and Yang Wei have not been given access to lawyers. The authorities are also reportedly suppressing any news about the incidents involving the three church leaders.
Attacks on churches in Guiyang have increased in recent years. In 2018, authorities have closed several churches in the city for being unregistered, citing "illegal religious venues" as the reason for the shutdown. The Regulations on Religious Affairs require churches to hold activities in designated locations registered under the TPSM.