According to China Aid, more than 80 Christians were arrested by authorities after they attended house church meetings across the northwestern region, while six others were detained in the days leading up to and after the Jan. 28 Chinese New Year holiday.
China Aid, an organization that reports on human rights abuses committed by the communist government against the nation’s Christian minority, reported last Friday that a government security agency conducted raids on various house churches affiliated with the Protestant house church network, Fangcheng Fellowship, which has an estimated 10 million members.
The raids were conducted on house churches in the cities of Urumqi, Kuytun and in Shawan Counties. Those arrested were charged with crimes such as “engaging in religious activities at non-religious sites.”
The report claims that the Christians were arrested because of their refusal to join the state-run church, the Three-Self Patriotic Movement.
News of the arrests come after authorities in the Xinjiang town of Wusu disrupted a prayer gathering at a local church on Jan. 20 and imprisoned 10 attendees on grounds that it was illegal to hold a private church meeting.