The Chinese government has continued its brutal crackdown on one of the country’s largest churches. Authorities arrested an additional 44 members of the Early Rain Covenant Church at two venues Feb. 24, including 11 children.
Multiple reports confirmed one of those arrested was just two months old. According to China Aid, pregnant women were also arrested, and Senior Pastor Wang Yi’s own 74-year-old mother was beaten by police. The group was detained at Chengdu Police Station and had their cell phones taken off them.
During their period of detention, the group was not given any access to food and many of them were not released until the early hours of the morning.
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More from China Aid:
“So far, 11 people have been sentenced to administrative detention. Those sentenced to 14-day detention are Zhang Jianqing, Wei Zhixue, Zhu Xiaoguang, Hou Hong’en, Luo Zhipeng, Yang Duli, Zhang Guanya, Huang Guangtai, and Tang Chunliang. Both A and Yang Jian were given a 10-day detention sentence.”
One staff member of the church was detained after coming to the defense of those who had been arrested.
“Brother A-Xin, a translator, after hearing about children, elderly people, and pregnant women being arrested at home gatherings and about Wang Yi’s 74-year-old mother being insulted and beaten, took up his pen and began writing furiously,” a Facebook post read on the Pray for Early Covenant Rain Church group page. “In the evening, he was arrested at his home by nearly ten police officers.”
At least 44 members of Early Rain Covenant Church detained for Sunday worship on February 24 including 11 children with one 2-month old baby. 11 confirmed with punishment of administrative detention from 10 to 14 days. Arbitrary arrest continues. Walk with the these Persecuted pic.twitter.com/D3pQfiLsjt
— Bob Fu傅希秋 (@BobFu4China) February 25, 2019
The post continued, noting shocking details of the arrests:
“By 8:00 p.m. last night, 44 members had been arrested during the ‘2/24’ Sabbath raids. Of those arrested, 11 were children. The youngest to be detained and taken to the police station was a little more than two months old. Tang Chunliang and his wife were hit in the face by a plainclothes police officer at the police station. Some, including children, did not eat anything. Some were not released until 2:00 a.m. Tired children slept on ice-cold tables and floors. Others were not released until 6:00 a.m.”