If you think that in China putting labels on class enemies before rounding them up for torture is a thing of the infamous past, think again.
In the afternoon on 7 December, about 270 members of a congregation, who attended a Bible Study meeting, were arrested and detained for allegedly proselytising for the outlawed Falun Gong spiritual movement. The apparent mistake did not deter the local police from carrying out this high profile arrest. Nor did it discourage the police from charging the detainees 300RMB interrogation fee as a condition for release. The thuggery did not stop here. A witness interviewed by Radio Free Asia (RFA) described the police as acting
like bandits, confiscating two computers, videotapes and a video recorder, a television and some copies of the Bible.
The congregation members were led away in handcuffs, as if they were criminals. At this point in time, many of them are still in detention without being charged.
The humiliation … for attending a Bible study is an unjustifiable act of religious persecution. In addition, the large scale and high profile of the detentions shows the apathy of Chinese officials in moving towards a policy for toleration of religious freedom; behaviour unbecoming of the World’s host for the Olympic games in 2008.
This raid followed closely another incident reported by RFA less than two weeks ago. Members of a house church in Shandong Linyi won a legal battle against local police and had their illegally confiscated private properties returned. I am wondering whether this latest display of sanctioned thuggery in vogue is another shameless attempt at a revenge.