Last week, Chinese police raided a youth gathering and arrested a member of a heavily persecuted Christian group.

Chinese authorities raided the home of Brother Xiao Luobiao, a leader of the heavily persecuted Early Rain Covenant Church (ERCC) on May 12 at about 10 in the morning, where the church was holding a gathering. Chinese police ordered the attendees to go home before arresting the youth leader.

According to International Christian Concern, Brother Xiao was interrogated before being released at about 2 p.m. the same day. Upon his release, the youth leader told his church, "Thanks be to God! I have already gotten out safely. This time was lighter than previous times [of arrest], I gave a statement and left around 2 pm by myself."

ERCC Continues to Face Religious Persecution in China

Because Brother Xiao leads the Chengdu-based ERCC, he is often targeted by Chinese police and has been detained multiple times. In October 2021, he was arrested by Wuhou district's Red Archway Police Station for "illegal proselytization." The youth leader and his family are continuously intimidated by the Chinese police since the December 9, 2018 crackdown on the ERCC.

For months, Brother Xiao and his wife had been followed by "minders" upon orders of the Chinese authorities. The two confronted them and called the police on them in protest, but the harassment did not stop until after the pandemic began in 2020.

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Catholic Priests in China Taken by Authorities

The Chinese communist government continues to crack down on religious minorities, specifically Christians and Catholics. Last week, ChinaAid reported that up to 10 priests in Baoding, Hebei province in China have disappeared. The report said that the priests from the unofficial Catholic Church in Baoding had been taken by police and have not been heard from since.

The disappearances of the priests began in January, when Fr. Chen Hechao disappeared. It continued in March and April, when Father Ji Fuhou, Father Ma Ligang, Father Yang Guanglin, and Father Shang Mancang were taken by authorities. Father Yang Jianwei and Father Zhang Chunguang were taken in Xushui on April 29, while Father Zhang Zhenquan was arrested at Xushuizheng Village.

Many parishioners in the diocese of Baoding continue to pray for the priests' safe return. Others, including family members, are actively seeking information on the missing priests by asking the authorities about them, to no avail. Other priests have expressed concern over their personal freedom as well.

The underground Catholic church in Baoding is one of the oldest and largest churches in China. Its leaders have long been persecuted. The diocese's Bishop James Su Zhimin has been detained for the last 25 years, while Father Liu Honggeng has been held for seven years. Meanwhile, Bishop Francis An Shuxin also spent decades in prison.

Such detention is called "supervision" by the Chinese communist government, which according to them may last up to three years and does not require charges brought forth against the accused. These detainees are forced to participate in lectures to get them to rejoin the state-controlled Church and obey the communist government.

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