Communist authorities in China’s Heilongjiang province took dozens of students and teachers from a Christian music school into custody and arrested a principal at a raid at the school.

CHINA While Christian school staff and students are arrested in Harbin, Methodist church reopens in Fuzhou

The students and teachers were released after about 24 hours of interrogation.

The raid happened when more than 30 officials from the Chinese Communist Party, including SWAT officers, police officers, religious affairs bureau officials and local school district administrators raided Maizi Christian Music High School in Harbin city last Saturday, the U.S.-based rights group China Aid reported.

Just before the raid, as the school principal was driving his child to school, police took him into custody. It’s unclear whether the principal has been charged with a crime and where exactly he is being detained.

“Principal Xu has had his home raided twice six months ago,” a friend of Xu told The Epoch Times, according to the U.S.-based persecution watchdog International Christian Concern. “His phone has always been tapped. Despite our best efforts to learn about his whereabouts, we have received no news.”

Officials in the raid also confiscated pianos, computers and documents belonging to the school. According to The Christian Post, the school charges $2,631 for tuition from each student.

Friends of the principal said he may be charged for providing an “illegal education.”

Open Doors USA estimates that there are about 97 million Christians in China. Restrictive measures in the country include removing Bible apps from availability to devices and removing the Christian WeChat public accounts.

China is ranked number 17 on persecution watchdog Open Doors USA’s World Watch List of the worst countries in the world to be a Christian.

The U.S. State Department has officially designated China as a “country of particular concern” for “continuing to engage in particularly severe violations of religious freedom.”

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