Local authorities in a number of cities across China raided churches on Christmas Eve, in a bid to prevent them from celebrating Christmas. Police and religious affairs officials from the municipal government raided the premises of the Early Rain Covenant Church in the southwestern city of Chengdu early on Monday morning, confiscating bibles, books, computers and other materials, church members told RFA.
They changed the locks on the premises, and sealed them up with police tape. The raid comes after police detained more than 50 church members, including pastor Wang Yi and his wife Jiang Rong. Twenty-four church members remain in detention, with police charging Wang and Jiang with "incitement to subvert state power." Several hundred church members are now under close surveillance from the authorities, who have warned them not to try to celebrate Christmas, on pain of further punishment, a church member who asked to remain anonymous told RFA. "Now we have nowhere to worship," she said. "Many people can't leave their homes."