Police arrest and beat Protestants in Xiamen
Members of the Xingguang Church were meeting at a private home to pray. Their Church has refused to join the state-approved Three-Self Patriotic Association. Members of the Early Rain Covenant Church have also been arrested.
Xiamen (AsiaNews/RFA) – Nine Protestants have been arrested and several have been beaten in a raid by the police and Religious Affairs Bureau in Xiamen on Sunday.
The group of Christians had gathered in a private home for an informal prayer meeting when hundreds of agents forced their way into the house ordering an end to the religious meeting.
Mayhem followed as some of those present resisted. Some of the Christians suffered cracked ribs and bruises on arms and legs as police dragged them away.
Those arrested belong to the Xingguang Church, an unofficial Protestant community.
According to its pastor, Rev Yang Xibo, the raid was likely due to the Church’s refusal to join the Three-Self Patriotic Association, the state-approved Protestant body.
China has an estimated 80 million Protestants, but only 23 million belong to the Three-Self Patriotic Association, considered by some to be a, easy tool in the hands of the atheist regime.
For many years, the Communist Party of China has tried to eliminate underground Protestant communities if they do not submit to the official organisation.
Recently, some members of the Early Rain Covenant Church were arrested in Chengdu (Sichuan) for organising online meetings and liturgical services.
Under new regulations on religious activities, the Internet is off limits to religious services. However, under lockdown conditions caused by the coronavirus outbreak, the authorities relented a bit, allowing some services to be carried online.
However, this does not apply to Early Rain Covenant Church, which is under a total ban. its founder, Rev Wang Yi, was arrested last December and sentenced to nine years in prison for "subversion”.
In addition to the Early Rain Covenant Church, the government has closed several other Protestant churches. These include Rongguili Church in Guangzhou and the Xunsiding Church in Xiamen.
As repression against Protestant Churches – and Catholic communities – has increased, the Communist Party has turned to extolling nationalism, accusing Christian communities of promoting "harmful Western ideas".