Church in Chains, 31 August 2022 (excerpts)
On Sunday 14 August, at least twenty Chengdu police officers raided a gathering of between fifty and sixty members of Early Rain Covenant Church (ERCC) at a tea house in Chengdu’s Wuhou district and arrested Christian writer and translator Xing Hongwei, also known as A Xin.
ERCC is one of the most prominent unregistered house churches in China and has been heavily persecuted since a crackdown in 2018 when police detained over 150 members and closed down the church premises. Its pastor, former law professor Wang Yi, is serving a nine-year prison sentence.
Police announced that the church gathering at the tea house was illegal and locked the doors, refusing to let anyone leave until they registered their ID – a demand that was without legal basis. Xing Hongwei resisted and the situation escalated into what China Aid described as “a physical altercation”.
A Christian named Li told Radio Free Asia, “Xing Hongwei was slapped by police. Police then pressed Xing Hongwei onto the ground and forcibly took him away… Later, we learned that he was criminally detained on the charge of ‘assaulting a police officer’”.
On 26 August, Xing Hongwei was released on bail pending trial, following 12 days in criminal detention. His wife and other members of Early Rain met him at the Police Station and had a celebratory dinner together after his release.