BREAKING NEWS: China Releases Four House Church Leaders

Tuesday, February 24, 2009 | Tag Cloud

Stefan J. Bos, Worthy News Chief International Correspondent

China's Communist government struggles to tame spread of Christianity, rights groups say.
China's Communist government struggles to tame spread of Christianity, rights groups say.

BEIJING, CHINA (Worthy News) -- Chinese authorities have released the last four house church leaders who were among dozens of evangelical officials detained in Central China this month, an advocacy group told Worthy News Tuesday, February 24.

They belonged to a group of over 60 evangelical leaders arrested during a seminar on February 11, along with two South Korean pastors, in Nanyang city of Henan province, said China Aid Association (CAA).

All others were already released earlier. CAA attributed their freedom to international media attention, including from Worthy News and its partner news agency BosNewsLife, as well as "worldwide prayer and other international pressure" from its supporters.

The house church leaders came from four provinces to attend a seminar [and] were all evangelical Christians from different house church groups, CAA said.

POLICE RAID

The two South Korean pastors, who were only identified as Kim and Chang, planned to speak at the meeting when "more than 30 police from Nanyang Public Security Bureau (PSB) and the National Security Bureau (NSB) broke uo the meeting," the group explained.

Police arrested all participated "escorting them to [nearby] Nanyang Jingda Hotel" and took "all personal belongings, including money, cell phones, books, bags and daily necessities," CAA claimed.

Soon after, police allegedly forced each person to register and to pay a fine.  "Police then released some of the elderly believers," while others were escorted to their home cities to be held in detention in local facilities.

All were eventually freed, including the last remaining four house churches on February 20. The two South Korean pastors were expelled from China on February 14 for “engaging in illegal religious activities” and have been banned from returning to China for five years, CAA and other sources said.

NO KNOWLEDGE

Li Dewei, director of the propaganda office of the public security bureau of Nanyang city, said in published remarks he did not know about the matter.

China's Communist government allows worship only in state-supervised churches, which claim about 11 million members, far less than the up to 130 million Christians in China.

Christians and clergy in unofficial churches are regularly harassed and detained amid concerns among Communist officials about the spread of Christianity, according to local Christians and several advocacy groups.

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3 thoughts on “BREAKING NEWS: China Releases Four House Church Leaders”

  1. Praying!

    "Make haste, O God, to deliver me; make haste to help me, O LORD."
    "Let them be turned back for a reward of their shame that say, Aha, aha."
    "Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: and let such as love thy salvation say continually, Let God be magnified."
    "But I am poor and needy: make haste unto me, O God: thou art my help and my deliverer; O LORD, make no tarrying." Psalms 70

    Hallelujah!

  2. Thanks be to God for all the attention from Worthy News, Bos Life, China Aid, and the "international community." But above all, I attribute the pastors' release to fervent prayer from Christians.

    Thanks to Worthy News for staying on top of it.

  3. We were in Beijing during the new year and then went to India and came back about that time. We had several of our house churches visited during that time. We did not preach that week because of it, but was unaware of the pastors going to jail. We are connected to both the gov. and the house church. We now know from this article that Praise God! We had just conduted the same type of retreat the week before.

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