Tuesday, December 13, 2005
By BosNewsLife News Center
BEIJING, CHINA (BosNewsLife)– As Christmas approaches, Chinese security forces have reportedly arrested dozens of leaders of the rapidly growing house churches, BosNewsLife learned Tuesday, December 13.
The US-based religious rights group China Aid Association (CAA), which has close contacts with house churches, said at least 29 leaders were arrested in Henan province on Monday, December 12.
“According to eyewitness reports, at 3pm on December 12 Beijing Time, 40 police officers with 8 police vehicles raided a house church leadership meeting at Xiapigang Village in Xincai County of Henan Province,” CAA said in a statement to BosNewsLife.
“100 major church leaders from Henan and Anhui Province were gathered at a believer’s house discussing how the house churches can effectively help a large group of peasants who had contracted AIDS,” the group added.
It said the region is internationally known as a “AIDS disaster area” because “many peasants became infected when they sold their blood to local blood centers” were apparently dirty needles were used.
CAA quoted a “reliable report” as saying that the leaders who were detained also lost properties, including three motor bicycles, one cell phone, their entire luggage as well as winter blankets.
“According to one pastor who was at the raided meeting, the police officers showed a search warrant and stated the meeting was an illegal religious gathering. Pastor Shen Yiping, the founder of internationally known House Church group called China Gospel Fellowship and the host of the meeting Mr. Yang Huamin, were among those arrested,” CAA added.
Attorney Zhang Xingshui, the director of Beijing Jingding Law Firm has agreed to be their legal representative. CAA said it has also established that Christian businessman Tong Qimiao, who was beaten in September in Xinjiang filed a civil claim with a local court in the Chinese province.
Tong was beaten and suffered a broken rib during an interrogation by security forces of the Xinjiang State Security Bureau on September 28, 2005, church sources and human rights activists said.
He was reportedly interrogated for his relationship with a house church in that area. Because of Tong’s actions against the alleged torturers, his furniture factory and store in a local mall was ordered to close, CAA said. “Many pieces of furniture” were also confiscated on October 13 and 14 by local authorities, the group added.
“CAA condemns the arrest of these innocent church leaders and urges the Chinese authority to release them immediately.” China’s government had denied human rights abuses, saying Christians are free to worship in state run churches. (With reports from China)
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