By BosNewsLife Asia Service
BEIJING, CHINA (BosNewsLife) -- Chinese security forces raided a house church at a coal mine in China's Gansu Province and detained several Christians as part of a crackdown on unauthorized worship services in the Communist nation, a Christian rights group said Monday, June 30.
The raid took place last week, June 24, at a house church at the Honghui Coal Mine located in Baiyin City in the province's Pingchuan District, said US-based China Aid Association (CAA), which has close contacts with Chinese house churches.
Several believers, including Wang Fayun, a Chinese man in charge of the gathering and two female members practicing on the piano, were detained for several days, CAA said.
"Brother Wang, was placed under 10 days administrative detention" while the two unidentified women were held for three days, the groep added. The next day, officials reportedly detained two more members at the same site, including a man identified only as Chen and his wife, who both received 10 days of "administrative detention." CAA said they were also fined 1,000 China Yuan Renminbi ($145), a high amount in Gansu, one of China's poorest provinces.
Gansu authorities defended the crackdown, saying in published remarks that "These people are suspected of engaging in cult activities and undermining public security," adding that the house church “ had public gatherings for three years in the local area."
CAA denied the 'cult' charges and said it had urged its supporters to pray "for these innocent Christians." The group told BosNewsLife that it had also appealed to relevant authorities in Gansu to release the Christians still in detention and "assume responsibility of state compensation for the losses they have suffered."
CAA and other groups have expressed concerns over reports of a wider crackdown on house churches ahead of the upcoming Olympic Games in the Chinese capital Beijing. The raids have been linked to concern among Communist officials that Chinese Christians worshipping outside the Communist-backed churches will use the Olympics to gain international attention for their plight.
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