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.
Saudi Arabia released four Filipino Christians in Riyadh yesterday, 40 days after their arrest by the country's strict Islamic police for conducting Christian worship services in a private home.
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.
Baptist pastor Rahim Tashov and a colleague were hauled into police headquarters in their hometown of Turkmenabad (formerly Chardjou) last Thursday, February 3.
Four of the 16 Filipino Christians arrested three weeks ago by Saudi religious police remain jailed and under interrogation in the capital Riyadh, a Filipino diplomat confirmed Wednesday. The three wives and five children arrested with them for conducting Christian worship in a private home have been released during the past week. Four adults were released the previous week.