About 100 worshippers at an unofficial church in southwestern China were snatched from their homes or from the streets in coordinated raids which began on Sunday evening.
Chinese authorities targeted members of the Early Rain Covenant Church across various districts of Chengdu, the provincial capital of Sichuan, in what appeared to be an effort to close down one of the country’s most prominent Protestant house churches.
Members’ personal accounts and cell group discussions on social media channels were blocked at around 9pm on Sunday while the church’s telephone line was also cut. The homes of the church’s leaders, including pastor Wang Yi, were among those raided.
Zhang Guoqing, assistant deacon of the Early Rain Covenant Church, was among two church members who were released on Monday morning after his arrest by Chengdu police in the Sunday night raids.
He is now being watched around the clock by “security personnel” in his home.