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Police shut down house church's summer camp for teens in Anhui province, order college students who were teaching classes to leave

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Teens attend the Zhongchong
Village House Church’s summer
camp on Aug. 4, 2014. (Photo: China
China Aid Association

(Jianzhai, Anhui—Aug. 12, 2014) Police last week shut down a house church’s summer camp for teens in coastal Anhui province and ordered eight college students who were teaching classes to leave the area, China Aid has learned.

On the morning of Aug. 4, more than 10 police officers arrived in two vehicles and burst into the site of the summer camp organized by the Zhongchong Village House Church in Jianzhai county. About 40 people were gathered at the time, including students, parents and teachers. Without showing any identification, the police from the local Qingshan police station interrogated those in attendance, confiscated a donation box which was later returned, took photographs and searched church members' homes, church members said.

Police said the summer camp was an illegal gathering because it had not been approved by the local religious affairs department, and ordered the college students who were teaching classes to leave the local area because they did not have “temporary residence certificates” and had not been registered with the religious affairs bureau, according to one of the teachers, who gave only her surname, Wang.

Miss Wang was one of the eight college students from Hebei province invited by the church to teach classes at the summer camp. Miss Wang said the police raid took place on the second day of the camp.

She said, “There are eight of us teachers, and three others and I were responsible for teaching English to the children. They were divided into several classes and a teacher was in charge of teaching music theories. We gave drawing lessons taught by two teachers. While we taught drawing, we also gave them character-building lessons.”

A church member, Sister Tao, interviewed by a China Aid reporter on the afternoon of the incident said that the police were still at the site and that there were fears that they might start beating people.

Local police arrived shortly before noon on
Aug. 4 to shut down the summer camp.
(Photo: China Aid)
She said, “As we were holding a summer camp event, two vehicles came from the local police station. There were over 10 of them and now they still have not left. As soon as they came, they took photos. At about 10 o’clock, they took away the donation box. Our sisters tried to grab the box from them, but failed. After half an hour, they returned the box to me.”

Sister Tao said that the police kept insisting that the summer camp was an illegal activity and must be banned: “He said our activity was illegal because they had not approved it. We said it was approved by the county. [We knew]you local authorities would not approve it. He told us to disperse in the afternoon. If we didn’t disperse, they wouldn’t leave.”

Qiao Nong, a China Aid special reporter based in Hong Kong, tried to contact the local police station for more information, and was told to contact the supervising officer at the scene. When he called the phone number given to him by the police station for the supervising officer at the scene, Yu Tao, he was told he had the wrong number.

An attempt to speak to Yu Tao through one of the church members at the scene was also rebuffed.

China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
Website: www.chinaaid.org