A persecution-watch group based in Texas reported the re-arrest of Pastor Chu Huaiting, after his release from detention last Sunday.
China Aid Association reported, this morning, a raid at a Bible school in Huaibei City, Anhui Province, by approximately 50-60 Chinese police including anti-riot squads and plain-clothes officers, supported by ten anti-riot vehicles. About 36 House church leaders, students and teachers were rounded up in the initial raid. Police later arrested Pastor Chu, the owner of the school, at his home at around 1:00pm HKT. Four house church leaders managed to escape during the mass roundup.
Officials confiscated around ten thousand copies of Christian literature and two hundred new blankets in the raid. Those arrested included civilians from the nation’s capital of Beijing, the Inner Mongolia Region, and the provinces of Anhui, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Shandong and Hunan.
Pastor Chu was also detained four days ago, after police raided a Jiangsu Province house church where he was leading service. The police arrested three other leaders whom included two women. All four were released in the evening the same day.
According to CAA, Chu is the current vice president of the Chinese House Church Alliance, which was established in 2004 and is now made up of house church movements in twenty-one provinces. The alliance claims a membership of three hundred thousand at this moment. In the past months, leaders associated with the alliance have been questioned or detained by officers of the Public Security Bureau.
Unknown eyewitnesses at the scene reportedly identified the license registration of one of the police vehicles as WAN F2020. A member of the school told CAA that he or she managed to contact the local emergency hotline, but received an answer from an officer stating that the raid was part of a joint provincial effort to crack down on "illegal religious activities."
Before the raid, Pastor Chu had encountered PSB officers attempting to videotape the school, according to the CAA press brief. His demands for the officers’ identification papers and search warrants were refused. No search warrants were presented during this morning’s arrest, CAA says.
Bob Fu, China Aid Association president, asked for justice on behalf of those imprisoned in this morning’s arrest. "We demand that the Chinese government honor their international obligations to respect and protect the religious freedoms and civil liberties of the Chinese citizens," he stated.
The organization has so far identified Pastor Liu Haiting, Pastor Liang Zhenjun and Pastor Joseph Wang as amongst those arrested. Additional names remain unavailable at this moment.
CAA has urged believers worldwide to write letters of appeal to the Chinese ambassador in the United States.
To find more information on the China Aid Association, visit its website.