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A Christian youth summer camp run by one of China’s “house churches” in Anhui province was surrounded by 100 police, who detained the pastor and three ministers, the China Aid Association has learned.

In China, it is illegal to teach children about Jesus. State-run Three-Self Patriotic Association churches do not allow anyone under age 18. The vast majority of Chinese Christians, estimated between 50- and 150-million, worship in illegal “house churches,” both Catholic and Protestant. However, with the number of Christians eclipsing the membership of the Chinese Communist Party, officials have launched a crackdown.

Officials from the local Religious Affairs Bureau, the Qiaotou Township government, the Public Security bureau and local police stations and traffic police descended upon the church camp which was being held at the residence of Pastor Lu Jingxiang, at 6 a.m. Thursday Aug. 11.

Qiaotou is in Mingguang City, which is part of the Chuzhou prefecture level city of coastal Anhui province.

Pastor Lu and the three ministers were taken to the local police station for holding an “unregistered, illegal meeting.” The principal of the town elementary and high school recorded the names of all the children in attendance.

Pastor Lu was released the same afternoon, and the three out-of-town ministers were also later released.

The evening before the raid, local officials spread rumors that Pastor Lu had hidden drugs and cult members in his home.

Pastor Lu is a member of the Chinese House Church Alliance and has been pastoring this house church for many years. In early July, the Chuzhou police came to question Pastor Lu and warned him not to invite out-of-town ministers to conduct training or to preach.

U.S.-based China Aid Association President Bob Fu, expressed regret over the increasingly difficult hardships suffered by house churches in China.

He asked concerned readers to “Keep this matter in prayer.”

China Aid also urged the Chinese government “at all levels to realize that the church is bringing to Chinese society true harmony and real cultural progress.”

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