This past Sunday in China, members of Chengdu’s Early Rain Covenant Church gathered inside living rooms for worship as they’ve done since the Chinese government shut down the church and arrested its leaders in December. But this week, police showed up at two homes, forcing everyone—children, the elderly, and pregnant women—into police buses and taking them away to the local station. Police detained a total of 44 people, the youngest of which was only 2 months old, according to Early Rain’s Feb. 25 update.

Police placed 11 people in administrative detention and released the rest that day or early the next morning. Inside the station, police hit a man and his wife in the face and withheld food from some of the parishioners, according to the update. Early Rain Covenant Church has faced continued persecution since Dec. 9, when police detained more than 100 church members and leaders. Today, Pastor Wang Yi and his wife Jiang Rong, the church’s four elders, and eight others remain in prison, unable to meet with their lawyers.

A day before the renewed Sunday raids, police assaulted Wang’s 70-year-old mother, Jiang Ruolin, as she withdrew money from a bank ATM. A police officer who had been tailing Jiang tried to peek from the side as she typed in her PIN number. She asked him not to look, and in response, he insulted her and pulled her hair, according to an account by Wang’s niece.

When a bank security guard tried to stop him, the officer yelled, “I’m enforcing the law!” and the frightened guard walked away. The officer continued to kick her in the legs while a second officer grabbed her to prevent her from hitting back.

When Jiang Ruolin later reported the abuse, the director of the local police station said he would deal with the officer. Meanwhile, he prohibited her from publicizing the officer’s name or ID number. Jiang is currently caring for Wang’s 12-year-old son, Shuya, while his parents are in prison.

Read more at World Magazine. 

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