Relaymedia

24 House Church Leaders Still Missing after Police Raid in Henan

24 unregistered church leaders of a controversial religion group are reported missing after a massive police raid that involves 80 people in Henan province, according to the Chinese Christian persecut
( [email protected] ) Mar 19, 2006 11:44 AM EST

24 unregistered church leaders of a controversial religion group are reported missing after a massive police raid that involves 80 people in Henan province.

On March 13, a number of Public Security Officials raided the group called the Three Grades of Servants at Wen County, Henan Province while they are having a coworkers meeting, according to the eyewitness report obtained by the Texas-based Chinese Christian persecution watchdog China Aid Association (CAA). In the meeting, there are 80 church leaders from different counties of Henan Province. Many of the mainstream Chinese House churches identify the group as doctrinally cultic.

While 36 from Wen County were released within 24 hours, 24 from other counties are still missing, CAA reported. Even though the group is considered controversial, human rights groups are still concerned that some of those persecuted Chinese citizens are severely tortured by the authorities in breach of the international human rights law.

CAA received the defense statement for the church leader of the Three Grades of Servants Xu Shuangfu. He was tortured severely during the investigation and "the severity of such torture went beyond the imagination of defense attorneys." The aim of each torture, according to the lawyers, was aimed at compelling the defendant to confess certain fabricated facts. The torture would continue until the defendant confessed. Sometimes, the investigator will even directly pull the defendant’s fingers to sign or get finger print.

CAA believes that while many of the mainstream Chinese House churches identify Xu’s group as doctrinally cultic, nevertheless, their basic constitutional rights should be protected, its statement addressed.

CAA calls upon the international community to continue to press the Chinese government to make sure the verdict should be based upon true evidence. CAA urges the Chinese government to immediately release the arrested 24 pastors in Wen County.