Not less than 20 police officers from China’s southwestern Sichuan Province recently detained 15 Christians for attending a Bible study.

Authorities broke into a church in mid-March and took into custody 15 Christians who had gathered for a Bible study. Officers accused them of illegally gathering and “gathering a crowd to disturb public order,” and detained them for 15 days. Additionally, they confiscated church seating, projectors, and air conditioning equipment.

Li Ming, a pastor of another local house church, Langzhong Church, reported that the authorities had also repeatedly targeted his congregation. For the past several Christmases, authorities seized Christians who worshipped at the church because they refused to meet at the official Three-Self Church. Last year, a woman surnamed Liang was detained for 15 days, and all of the church’s property was taken away.

Langzhong Church has been serially targeted. In April 2003, 20 police officers banned the church for “illegally gathering” and took 17 people into police custody, six of whom they administratively detained, including Li. On December 25, 2011, government personnel sprayed about 200 Christians with tear gas, and many were hospitalized. Afterwards, the church members tried to sue the public security bureau, but the local court refused to file the case.

ChinaAid exposes abuses such as those experienced by church members in order to stand in solidarity with persecuted Christians and promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law.

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