A group operating under the Chinese Communist Party-banned Early Rain Covenant Church was given eviction orders by Chinese authorities in Chengdu, where at least one church member was detained. The move was in part of the Chinese authorities' continued crackdown on the unofficial Protestant group and other religious minorities.
Video footage of a government official who asked the group to relocate has surfaced. The confrontation led to an altercation.
"Residents of the Wuhou community of the Early Rain Covenant Church have been harassed again," an ERCC member who wished to remain anonymous lamented to Radio Free Asia. "A large group of people turned up claiming to be the owners and told us we weren't welcome."
Another one of the ERCC's members who had the surname Li said Chinese authorities appeared at the Jiaoda Garden residential compound in Wuhou district in Chengdu on September 2. The community is where several ERCC members lived.
Li reported that family members of several members of the group were "evicted by a group of people organized by the police station and the community owners' committee." He added, "They weren't allowed to enter, and they were asked to move out of the community."
Meanwhile, Chinese authorities from the Jinyang police station visited the homes of several ERCC members on Friday, serving them eviction notices and ordering them to evacuate within three days. Church member Li Yung was detained at a police station after an altercation, when Chinese authorities accused him of "interfering with law enforcement." He was released later on the same day he was captured.
One ERCC member was negotiating with Chinese officials and was taken to the police station for "questioning for obstructing law enforcement" because he asked the police officers for proof of identity, Li reported.
On the morning of September 3, an ERCC member welcomed a guest into their home. Shortly, Chinese authorities and members of the residential community's neighborhood committee came knocking, demanding that the church member's guest leave.
This renewed attack on ERCC members comes just two weeks after Chinese authorities detained two members of the church and several minors. In August, meeting host Dai Zhichao and church member He Shan were both sentenced to two weeks' administrative detention, a sentence that was handed down by a police-run committee that did not require a trial.
The two church members and some minors were captured after Chinese authorities raided a Sunday gathering by the group.
According to UCA News, Dai was even injured when police confiscated his phone during the raid. An ERCC member who filmed the raid recounted how the Chinese authorities "dragged" them out the door and detained them.
About a dozen police were sent to break up the meeting after they received reports that there was an "illegal assembly" taking place. A police officer reportedly kicked a female church member on the leg after she got upset over police hitting her eight year old son on the head.
Chinese authorities continue their crackdown on religious minorities all over China, especially groups who are not registered under Chinese Communist Party (CCP)-backed Three-Self Patriotic Association.
Readers are urged to pray for Early Rain Covenant Church members and the Christians living under persecution in China.