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China Detains 19 Key House Church Leaders

Monday, July 17, 2006 | Tag Cloud

By BosNewsLife News Center

BEIJING, CHINA (BosNewsLife) -- A prominent leader of a house church in China’s Jilin province was still in jail Saturday, July 15, after she was detained along with her husband and small child earlier this week, fellow believers said.

Besides Pastor Wang Jinhua, 18 other pastors in China’s Henan and Sichuan provinces were detained in previous days, said China Aid Association (CAA), a religious rights group representing several house churches.

CAA quoted eyewitness reports that Pastor Wang, was arrested along with her husband, Xu Jinfu and their 8-year-old son Xu Enze by security forces at their home in Jilin City in Jilin province. The eight-year-old boy was released after church members visited the local Public Security Bureau of the province’s Fengman District, CAA said.

However after "being interrogated for three days and nights," Pastor Wang was transferred to Baishan Prison in the Jilin city area, while her husband was released, the group added.

INFLUENTIAL GROUP

Pastor Wang was the main leader of the influential Three-Grade Servants group, before leaving that group 10 years ago when she started her own evangelical house church.

Six main leaders of the Three-Grade Servans were sentenced to death this month. Another major leader of the group, identified as Pastor Yu Peng was reportedly on the run Saturday, June 15, after the government put him "on its wanted list," CAA said.

In addition, since July 9, about 15 other house church leaders were reportedly arrested at the Nanyuan House Church in Nanyang city in Henan province. CAA said that 20 Public Securiy Bureau agents backed by five vehicles "raided the church when about 30 church members were having their Sunday service."

PROPERTIES CONFISCATED

Chinese security forces broke the door of the church and confiscated the church offering box and loudspeaker, CAA investigators claimed. "Four of them were released in the afternoon on the same day [but] 11 of them are still being detained," CAA explained.

When his wife and son attempted to visit Pastor Chen Tongqing, they were both allegedly beaten by prison guards. The son was reportedly forced to go back home to hand over to police "his dad’s Bibles and other Christian literature," CAA said.

The group added that in Sichuan province on July 6 two house Church leaders from Chongqing city pastor were also detained. Pastor Dan Wei and his wife Xiao Tianmin were arrested and imprisoned by four members of the Public Security Bureau of Langzhong City, CAA said. They were allegedly detained while leading a Bible study at a host family at Beiguan Town in Sichuan province. Both of them were accused of leading an "evil cult," CAA claimed.

ANTI-CHRISTIAN CAMPAIGN

"The international community should be aware of the recent escalating campaign against evangelical house churches by the Chinese government in the name of a clampdown against the controversial Three-Grade Servant group," stressed Rev. Bob Fu, a former house church pastor who now leads CAA.

"We urge President [George] Bush and other administration officials to speak up more forcefully on the deteriorating situation of religious persecution in China," Fu said. "CAA urges the Chinese government to immediately release these arrested pastors."

Chinese officials have denied human rights abuses. The Communist government says it is cracking down on "evil cults" and that Christians are free to worship in the state backed churches. But believers in China say most of the country's 80 million Christians prefer to worship in house churches, named. this way as they are often held in the homes of believers.(With reports from China).

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Worthy Christian News » Christian Persecution » China » China Detains 19 Key House Church Leaders