By BosNewsLife News Center
BEIJING, CHINA (BosNewsLife) -- Dozens of Christian leaders, including three church officials from South Korea, were detained by Chinese security forces Tuesday, March 6, as part of an apparent government crackdown on independent Christian groups, representatives said.
China Aid Association (CAA) said in a statement obtained by BosNewsLife that the arrests happened when "local police raided a house church Bible study in Wancheng District, Nanyang city [of] Henan province."
CAA said 34 "Chinese Christian leaders and three church leaders from South Korea were taken to the police station for interrogation."
In published remarks, eyewitnesses said the raid happened in the afternoon when Christian leaders of the Chinese House Church Alliance "were having their Bible study with three pastors from South Korea."
PUBLIC SECURITY BUREAU
Police officers from China's Public Security Bureau (PSB) of Nanyang city "broke into the house of worship which is the home of pastor Dong Quanyu who is the vice-President of Chinese House Church Alliance," CAA said.
"We urge the Chinese government to immediately release these innocent Chinese and Korean church leaders," said Pastor Bob Fu, the president of CAA.
China has consistently denied human rights abuses, saying it is only cracking down on "dangerous sects" or "unauthorized meetings." Church representatives and human rights groups have linked the apparent crackdown to concerns within the Communist Party of China about the spread of Christianity in the country.
Recently Chinese officials admitted there were at least 130 million Christians in China, even more than previous international estimates of roughly 80 million believers.
There were some hope that Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, who was appointed in 2003, would allow more democratic reforms, including more religious rights and freedom of expression.
However during China's annual parliamentary session which started Monday, March 5, he focused on "promoting social harmony, protecting the environment and reduce energy consumption," as part of attempts to strengthen the party base. (With BosNewsLife Research and reports from China).
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