Police raid church’s youth summer camp

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By Yu Bing —

youth summer camp (ChinaAid)

On July 25, police raided Zion Reformed Church’s youth summer camp and administratively detained four members for 15 days.

Authorities apprehended Pastor An Yankui, Zhang Chenghao, Wang Yingjie, and his wife Wang Ying. All four Christians will be in administrative detention for 15 days for “carrying out activities in the name of an illegal social organization.”

The next day, children’s Bibles, teachers’ cell phones, books, and other personal belongings were confiscated. Police refused to give an inventory of the items seized.

Zion Reformed Church started a three-day youth summer camp on July 24th. On the second day around 5:30 PM, police officers and representatives from the religious affairs bureau burst into the building. They demanded to inspect the camp on the grounds that there were safety hazards. Ten men in police uniforms and five men in plain clothes took away Pastor An Yankui, Wang Yingjie, Wang Ying, and Zhang Chenghao. The children were left at the camp with An’s wife, Yao Congya, and Zhang’s wife, Guo Juan.

Officers asked parents to come to the camp. Parents waited outside and waited to be released. Those whose names were called were allowed to leave with their children. Some spoke with law enforcement officers because they were holding their children’s Bibles.

During this time, joint law enforcement wanted to take away all of the male Christians. None of them agreed to leave their families. An argument broke out between the parents and one of the female cadres from the Religious Affairs Bureau. One parent asked which laws prohibit their children from studying the bible. The woman official responded, “You also allow them to kill and set fire to people, right?” All of the parents were shocked by the official, likening studying the Bible to murder.

SUFFERING FOR THE GOSPEL

Interestingly, Zion Reformed Church met the Sunday prior to the camp. They had baby baptisms, new members joining, and a mid-year membership meeting. During the service, they said, “We are willing for the word of the Lord to spread quickly, even if our own interests will suffer as a result. Therefore, we in this church have also been gathering in the name of the Lord and making it as public as possible.”

Photo: Family members waited outside the police station (ChinaAid source)

Unfortunately, all the arrested Christians had previous experiences in handcuffs. Pastor An and Zhang Chenghao were arrested and sentenced to one year after attending a Christian conference in Malaysia. Earlier this month, Mr. and Mrs. Wang Yingjie were sentenced to 15 days of administrative detention. — ChinaAid