Preachers Detained in a Series of Coordinated Arrests

Preachers Detained in a Series of Coordinated Arrests
Image: Video Screenshot

The authorities carried out a series of arrests in Liaoning, which were pre-planned and designed to target Christians.

Bitter Winter has reported extensively about the “Operation Thunder,” during which the authorities at the end of June carried out mass arrests of people involved with The Church of Almighty God, a Chinese Christian new religious movement, in Chongqing City, Jiangsu Province, Liaoning Province, and Shandong Province.

We have received reports that other house churches have also been targeted during this operation in the last week of June.

At around 3 am on June 27, seven police officers in plainclothes broke into the home of Lin Lan in the Huanren Manchu Autonomous County of Liaoning Province. When the members of the household rushed to figure out what had happened, the men refused to present any warrant and said they had come to arrest believers.

They seized religious books, optical disks, MP3 player and several more. Ms. Lin was taken into detention and release only on July 2.

That day, the house of another preacher, Li Fang, was broken into. The men in plainclothes said they were police officers and forcibly detained Ms. Li. She was then interrogated for six hours before being released in the afternoon of the same morning.

Finally, ten police officers in the nearby Yingkou city stormed into the house of Yang Yue after 6 am on June 27. Ms. Yang is a preacher with one of the house churches, and her home was raided like others too. Both Ms. Yang and her husband were detained in action. Her husband was released within hours whereas Ms. Yang continues to be in detention.

It is understood that on that day, many more preachers and believers of various other house churches were arrested across cities and districts in Liaoning. According to a government insider, this practice of coordinated mass arrests is just one of the ways in which the Chinese Communist Party is working at targeting Christians in China.

Other measures include “grid control” and person-by-person registration. At times, police officers or other official personnel often use false pretexts to enter a Christian household. They will pretend they are there to check household’s registration or adherence to family-planning regulations or inform about poverty alleviation, job placements or just investigating a case.

The real purpose is, of course, to understand if the household practices religious faith and if yes, then the extent of involvement. This is further aided by the monitoring the suspected believers’ telephones and employing the “Skynet Project” surveillance system.

(All the names in this article are pseudonyms.)

Source: BITTER WINTER / Li Yan