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100 Pastors Arrested as Chinese Christian Leadership Training is Raided

Approximately 50 plain clothed police and public security officials have raided a house church in Xingkou Town, Qi County, Henan Province on 24th June 2005.
( [email protected] ) Jul 01, 2005 02:48 AM EDT

Approximately 50 plain clothed police and public security officials have raided a house church in Xingkou Town, Qi County, Henan Province on 24th June 2005. The house church leader, Pastor Chen Dongming was holding leadership training courses in his house, with around 100 Pastors from several major cities attending, according to the reports received by China Aid Association (CAA).

Eyewitnesses reported that early in the morning, officials from the Public Security Offices surrounded the whole village with three trucks and many police cars. They immediately approached the house of Pastor Chen Dongming.

After entering the building, without a search warrant, a full search was carried out and security officers conducted thorough body searches on all training attendants, including women.

Private property such as cash, chairs, books, blankets and rice were confiscated and carried away in the trucks.

The meeting gathered approximately 100 Pastors from major cities, including Kaifeng, Xinxiang and Jiaozuo City. All of them were arrested and taken to the Qi County Detention Centre.

Most of detainees were released the same day at 6 p.m.; however, nine of them, including Pastor Chen Dongming are still being held in custody. As one of those released said, they were accused of "engaging in an illegal religious gathering."

Another anti-Christian happening was reported by CAA investigators from the area between China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and Pakistan. On 3rd June 2005, Chinese border control guards arrested 34 house church Christians.

As one of the house church leaders, who is familiar with this group said, all of them held legitimate Pakistani passport and visas. However, they were arrested after one of them revealed they were Christian missionaries.

They were placed in administrative detention centres in their respective hometowns and most of them were released after serving there for 15 days. Now, they are on the run, fearing further persecution from Chinese authorities.

"This is actually just the tip of the iceberg. China has been proclaiming to the international community that Chinese people are enjoying a golden time of religious freedom, this series of nationwide assaults on unregistered house churches does not support this claim." said Bob Fu, CAA president. "This is also a wakeup call to the world community that it's time to seriously reconsider its appeasing policies toward the issue of China's religious freedom."