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Chinese police storm church service and take away offering

East Asia

Chinese police storm church service and take away offering

Screen grab of footage of the demolition of Golden Lampstand Church in Linfen city in northern Shanxi Province, Jan. 9, 2018.
Photo credit: Radio Free Asia, from a photo supplied by a church member.

Armed Chinese police, accompanied by officials from the local Religious Affairs Department, stormed a church service in Lanzhou, northern China, on Sunday 27 May and carried away the church offering box.

More than 40 police officers, along with local officials, forcibly entered a Sunday service in a church in Lanzhou, Gansu province, and shut down the meeting.

The congregation were accused of “setting up religious venues and organising religious activities without permission” – an accusation typical of those levelled at unofficial “house churches”. The police detained the church pastor, along with other members of the church leadership. They also carried away the church offering box, the lectern and other items.

Government authorities in several Chinese provinces have engaged in a renewed crackdown on Christians in recent months. Officials in Henan province have compelled state-registered churches to remove crosses from their buildings, while house churches have been forced to close. As of the end of May, almost 100 house churches in the province had been shut down by authorities.