Chinese officials detain preacher, others, after they disrupt Bible study

A house in China where a Bible study was being conducted has been raided by officials in Taiyuan city. The officials also seized some Christian books, arrested the preacher, and five members.

According to reports on Wednesday, December 30, 2020, about 40 officials made entry into the home of the preacher, An Yankui, of Xuncheng Church. The church is located in the capital of Shanxi province. The International Christian Concern (ICC), the U.S-based persecution watchdog reports that Yankui's home was earlier raided about one-and-a-half month ago.

According to ICC, the officials restricted the movement of the church members who were studying the Bible. The preacher and five women were also arrested. Meanwhile, choir robes and books were seized. However, Yankuis wife, Yao Conya, was not detained by the officials because she had to take care of their children.

On New Years Eve around night, the officials released the five females that were arrested but Yankui is still being held in administrative detention. According to sources, the Xuncheng Church was planted by the Early Rain Covenant Church (ERCC) in Chen, who is also going through heavy persecution.

On November 15, when Xuncheng Church was earlier raided, it got a notice of disbandment from the police. There were assumptions that it was due to the churchs association with the ERCC.

There are more than 60 million Christians in China and about half of them worship in unregistered or illegal underground churches. Open Doors USA's World Watch List affirms that China is ranked among the worst countries in the world in relation to Christian persecution.

ICC's regional manager for Southeast Asia, Gina Goh, had stated that "at a time when religion in China has to submit itself to the control of the Chinese Communist Party and President Xi Jinping, its no longer a surprise that a house church is seen as an enemy of the state and clamped down upon."

"Chinas blindness to its violation of religious freedom needs to be continuously exposed so that Beijing knows it cannot get away with performing these evil acts," Goh said. 

A local believer was quoted as saying that "The staff from the district religious affairs bureau said that it is illegal for believers to participate in religious activities at a venue not approved by the government."

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