After a respite of one month, Chinese house church leader Li Dexian was detained by police on Tuesday for the 10th time since October. Public Security Bureau officers arrested the 45-year-old Protestant evangelist as he led his weekly 10 a.m. Bible study in Huadu, west of Guangzhou, a source in Hong Kong told Newsroom.
The sentencing of six Protestant house church leaders to hard labor last December and the arrest of six more leaders of the Roman Catholic underground church are but "the tip of the iceberg" of religious oppression, according to five prominent house church leaders inside China, contacted by Compass in January.
To observers of China's Christian church scene the event was as sudden as it was unexpected. Just the day before the Chinese New Year celebrations of February 5, one of China's most prominent house church leaders, Zhang Rongliang, was released quietly from prison in Fangcheng City, Henan Province, on grounds of poor health. The news was relayed quickly to journalists and China specialists outside of China by friends who had remained in close contact with Zhang for several weeks.