China: 100 Christians Snatched in Raids on Underground Church

From South China Morning Post, 100 Christians snatched in overnight raids on underground Chinese church. China has begun harshly cracking down on churches this year, with an estimated 100,000 Christians arrested in 2018 compared to 3.700 in 2017. Churches are required to mount facial recognition cameras on the pulpit directed toward the congregation so that they can be monitored by the government.

About 100 worshippers at an unofficial church in southwestern China were snatched from their homes or from the streets in coordinated raids which began on Sunday evening.

Chinese authorities targeted members of the Early Rain Covenant Church across various districts of Chengdu, the provincial capital of Sichuan, in what appeared to be an effort to close down one of the country’s most prominent Protestant house churches…

“The police said our church is an illegal organisation and we cannot attend any more gatherings from now on.”

The Early Rain Covenant Church is one of China’s few unofficial house churches – Christian assemblies that operate without state sanction – and this is not the first time Wang and other members of the church have been detained.

While most of China’s Protestant house churches operate underground to avoid attracting official attention and control, the Early Rain congregation openly practises its faith, posting sermons online and evangelising on the streets.

Many house churches have been closed this year in China’s harshest religious suppression in decades…