Christian Bookstore in Shanxi Province Raided by Police; Government Persecution Extends Beyond House Churches

Monday, April 2, 2012

China Aid Association
(Taiyuan, Shanxi—April 1, 2012) Police and government officials, including those from the religious affairs bureau, launched a surprise raid on a lawfully operating Christian bookstore in the Shanxi provincial capital of Taiyuan confiscating all of the store’s stock and taking its managers in for police questioning.

The joint action on Wednesday March 28 was undertaken by about 30 police and government officials from the religious affairs bureau and the culture bureau who burst into the Grace Like Rain Bookstore at about 9:30 a.m.

The Grace Like Rain bookstore, which sells Christian books and other printed matter, arts and crafts and audio-visual products, has been in business for four years and has all the relevant licenses and permissions to operate.
After forcibly restricting the movements of the store managers, sister Huizi and brother Xiao Lei, the police and government officials confiscated everything in the store, including equipment, as well as the entire contents of the store’s warehouse. They also confiscated personal items including bank books, cellphones and computers. The total value of the confiscated items was about 300,000 yuan (US$47,680).

According to sister Huizi, no one showed any identification the entire time, and they acted violently and crudely, threatening, insulting and verbally abusing her.

The raid continued until after 2 p.m., at which time the police forcibly removed sister Huizi and brother Xiao Lei to the Domestic Security Protection Department, where they were interrogated until 1 a.m. During the interrogation, sister Huizi, who suffers from an oncological disease, was physically punished and forced to make a confession. She suffered great physical and emotional harm.

The next morning, the owner of the bookstore arrived from Beijing to discuss the matter with the relevant government departments, but he was refused everywhere he went. At about 3 p.m., the police again took sister Huizi and brother Xiao Lei by force to be interrogated by Domestic Security Protection agents. This time the interrogation lasted until after 8 p.m., and both store managers were forced to sign off on the transcripts of their interrogation.

Sister Huizi said that although the experience of these two days was both frightening and stressful, she has been greatly comforted by the prayers and concern of the Christians around her and has also experienced God’s miraculous protection.

In an update to another case reported by ChinaAid, the four co-workers at the Wenzhou house church magazine Kernel of Wheat in coastal Zhejiang province have been released and are awaiting further developments in their case.

The recent spate of government actions against Christian publishing houses and bookstores is a sign of the broadening scope of official persecution of Christians. While once focused just on house churches and student fellowship groups, the Chinese government now has widened it persecution to Christian publishing and businesses.

ChinaAid will continue to monitor the developments in the case of the brutish law enforcement action against Grace Like Rain bookstore and calls on all brothers and sisters in Christ to join in prayer. May the grace of the Lord be with all those who work in Christian publishing and operate Christian bookstores in China.

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