House Churches in China Face Persecution Over Christmas

A house church in Beijing has been raided over the Christmas period, in efforts by local authorities to halt any worship or services over the season.

China-Aid International, based in the US, has reported that the security forces also re-arrested an influential house church leader, Lou Yuanqi.

Earlier this year, the house church leader was held by Chinese security forces for 32 days before being released on 26 November.

CAA reported: "It is believed that the arrest is to deter the Christians from holding any Christmas celebration activities. Brother Lou is currently held at the Detention Center of Huocheng County."

CAA President Bob Fu, a former house church leader who fled to the United States said, "We are very concerned about the arbitrary detention of brother Lou again. We urge the Xinjiang government to release him immediately."

Yuangi's family have also received no official explanation of why he was arrested.

The raid took place on Christmas Eve, where 150 worshippers were gathered to celebrate in the Haidian District in Beijing. Dozens of officers from China's Public Security Bureau and the Religious Affairs Bureau then surrounded them, CAA report.

It is believed that there are approximately 80 million Christians in China, with a large majority being members of house churches, unrecognised by the government, which only endorses "official churches" regulated by Chinese government officials.