About 100 Chinese Christians were snatched from their homes and the streets in coordinated raids which began on Sunday evening.
Authorities in China targeted members of the Early Rain Covenant Church across various districts of Chengdu, the provincial capital of Sichuan.
The raid appeares to be an effort to close down one of the country’s most prominent Protestant house churches.
Members’ personal accounts and cell group discussions on social media channels were blocked at around 9pm on Sunday while the church’s telephone line was also cut.
“This round of crackdown is unusual as it seems that the authorities want to close the church down for good. Our social media channel accounts such as WeChat were not closed in previous rounds and they have taken a large number of our members into custody this time. The scale was unprecedented,” said Li Yingqiang, one of the church elders.
The homes of the church’s leaders, including Pastor Wang Yi, were among those raided.