CHINA – CHRISTIANS TOLD THEY ARE “TOO YOUNG TO BELIEVE CHRISTIANITY”

Barnabas Fund. Twenty-eight Christian young people and four adult church workers were arrested during a raid by police and security officers at a Christian youth camp in Hubin town, Tengzhou city, Shandong province, on 13 July. A significant amount of property was confiscated, including projectors, televisions, computers, musical instruments, audio equipment and furniture. Mobile phones, Bibles and other personal items were also seized from the students. It has been reported that during the raid, police told the students, “It is forbidden for those under 18 to believe Christianity.” The camp organizers were also told, “Even those above 18 years old are not allowed to organize or participate in religious activities without permission.” The church workers and youths were taken to the local police station, where they were interrogated and threatened, and some were beaten. Eventually all but five of the Christians were released. The remaining five, who were the four camp organizers and one 16-year old student, were deprived of food for two days; when church members heard this, they immediately delivered bread and water to the prison. Following the arrests, the detained prisoners were sentenced to between five and fifteen days of administrative detention for “engaging in illegal activities”. Church members sought the return of the confiscated property, but the request was refused, with officials saying, “We’ll keep more than 90 per cent.”  • Pray for those who suffered through this ordeal and are still in shock. Pray that they will find strength in the Lord and in their fellow Christians. • Pray for those who are still being held under “administrative detention”, that they will not be mistreated and that they will be allowed to return safely to their families soon. • Thank God for the safe release of the majority of the youths.

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