Local authorities in far western China raided a house church Bible study group earlier this month and detained more than 30 Christians, four of whom remain in custody, and fined each person 5000 yuan (US$795), ChinaAid has learned.
The Feb. 16 raid occurred at about 2 p.m. in Wusu, near the city of Kuitun, in the far western region of Xinjiang, as more than 30 house church staff were having a Bible study with some Christians visiting from coastal Shandong province. Suddenly, more than 40 police officers and government officials burst into the room and surrounded the group, ordering them to stop the meeting.
The police and government officials said they were from the Wusu Public Security Bureau, the Kiutun State Security Bureau and the Wusu Religious Affairs Bureau. After mobilizing their forces and surrounding those at the meeting, they immediately started to take photographs and videos of the Christians at the gathering, and demanded they each produce their identity cards. The police and government officials then confiscated all the items at the meeting site, including a computer, Bibles and other books, CDs and other material. They transported all the Christians to the Wusu Public Security Bureau and locked them up in the detention center, all without going through any of the legally required procedures to notify family members. By Feb. 26, approximately 30 Christians had been released in batches, but each was forced to pay a 5000 yuan fine. Four people remain in detention, and the police have refused to produce any documentation that proper legal procedures had been followed.
China Aid Association condemns the authorities of Kuitun and Wusu for their illegal actions against and persecution of Christians, urges them to produce the required legal documents and to release all the remaining Christians from detention.