by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) - The heavily persecuted house church Early Rain Covenant Church (ERCC) in Chengdu, China was raided by government authorities again on August 22, and 28 members were taken away during a worship service, International Christian Concern (ICC) reports.
China ranks 17 on the US Open Doors Watch List of top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted.
The ERCC was first raided by authorities from China’s ruling Communist Party in 2018, ICC reports. Since then, members of the house church and its leaders have faced continual harassment and have repeatedly been detained for practicing their faith.
On August 22, police arrived at the door of a house where the church was meeting, as Preacher Dai Zhichao led a Sunday service, ICC said. Without providing a warrant, the police forced their way into the home and, in the process, injured both Zhichao and another congregant.
The police said they had received a report of an illegal gathering, and they registered each of the members’ personal information, ICC said. The officers then took 18 adults and 10 children into police detention. A source told ICC that many of those taken into police custody were beaten by the officers.
In a statement about the raid, Gina Goh, ICC Regional Manager for Southeast Asia, said: “The latest raid against ERCC, though nothing novel, shows a worrying trend that house churches are frequently subjected to harassment like this in the name of ‘law enforcement,’ where legally flawed Revised Regulations on Religious Affairs have been employed by Beijing to crackdown on house churches around the country.”