China: Places of worship shut down, worshippers harassed over Christmas

By Christian Solidarity Worldwide

Members of Early Rain Church in Sichuan continued to be monitored, harassed and prevented from meeting following a spate of arrests beginning on 9 December. At present approximately 23 people are detained or disappeared, including Pastor Wang Yi and his wife Jiang Rong.

Bulletins posted on social media reported that the church’s WeChat groups and over half the personal WeChat accounts of church members had been closed down or restricted from sending messages since the crackdown began, and other radio and social media accounts have also been shut down. Another bulletin reported that the authorities had forcibly taken four foster children, aged three to nine years old, away from one couple who are church members.

On 24 December the church’s sanctuary was confiscated and turned into to a community police office space.