Chinese Authorities Send In Armed SWAT Team to Beat Christians, Loot Donations Box, Bury Bibles, and Detain Pastor at Local Church

SHIJIAZHUANG, CHINA – APRIL 09: (CHINA OUT) A Chinese Catholic worshippers wait to take communion at the Palm Sunday Mass during the Easter Holy Week at an “underground” or “unofficial” church on April 9, 2017 near Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province, China. China, an officially atheist country, places a number of restrictions on Christians, allowing legal practice of the faith only at state-approved churches. The policy has driven an increasing number of Christians and Christian converts ‘underground’ to secret congregations in private homes and other venues. While the size of the religious community is difficult to measure, studies estimate more than 80 million Christians inside China; some studies support the possibility it could become the most Christian nation in the world in the coming years. Officially there have been no relations between China and the Vatican since the country’s modern founding in 1949 though in recent years there have been signs of warming relations between Chinese president Xi Jinping and Pope Francis that could possibly allow greater religious freedom in the future. At present, the split means approved Chinese Christians worship within a state-sanctioned Church known as the Patriotic Association which regards the Communist Party as its leader, not the Pope in Rome. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

Chinese authorities have launched yet another brutal attack on a local Christian congregation, looting the donations box and detaining the senior pastor.

The raid, led by the deputy governor of Zhecheng county and involving armed SWAT and anti-riot police, took place at True Jesus Church in Anping town. The enormous operation involved some 60 vehicles, with the police blocking off all the intersections leading the Church.

Why did they conduct the raid?

According to Bitter Winter, a magazine on religious liberty and human rights in China, authorities claimed that the church was in contact with foreign countries and was thus engaging in illegal activity. They ordered an immediate shut down by any means possible.

Vicious beatings, money stolen

After hearing word of the impending raid, some 60 church members attempted to prevent authorities from entering the building by overturning benches at the entrance. As a result, 100 plainclothes officers were ordered to storm in. Upon entering the building, police immediately broke into the donations box and demanded to know where the church funds were held.

“As soon as they entered the church, they smashed the donation box and pocketed the money, which totaled thousands of RMB,” said one member of the congregation. “They also questioned us about where all of our church’s money was kept.”

Then, officials ordered the officers to remove all surveillance cameras located inside the building, before mercilessly beating members of the congregation. “Fifteen believers were beaten to the ground, moaning in pain,” Bitter Winter noted.

One believer, who was in her sixties, was beaten so badly by the authorities that she suffered two cracked ribs.

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SOURCE: Faithwire, Will Maule