A Texas-based Christian persecution group reported the detainment of Christian house church leaders, after police raided a bible study of 100 people in Wen County, Henan Province.
The China Aid Association (CAA) reported the case yesterday, following the release of most of the detainees, whom were accused of being members of "an illegal cult." Several pastors, according to CAA, said they were beaten with electric stick batons and humiliated during interrogation.
Police released 36 people, 24-hours later. An additional three and six were set free, respectively Mar. 18 and Mar. 20. 15 house church leaders including a 15-year-old female remain incarcerated.
Pastor Li Gongshe, age 51, alleged that an Officer identified as "Wang," assaulted him in the presence of the police chief and political director. Li was reportedly hospitalized with a broken rib. Another detainee, Shan Ailing, age 21, told CAA that she "left home out of humiliation" after being forced to strip while being questioned.
The police raid, involving about 100 Public Security Bureau officers, occurred March 13, at a gathering believed to be associated with the Henan Fangcheng Mother Church group, regarded by some as an evangelical house church group in China. Two prominent Beijing human rights lawyers agreed to represent the remaining detainees.
Pastor Lian Changnian, who led the bible study, is now detained at Xiantao City, Hubei Province, says CAA.
CAA president, Rev. Bob Fu, asked for more public pressure on the Chinese government to improve the nation’s religious freedom situation in light of China President Hu Jintao’s planned visit at the White House on April 20.
"This new raid is certainly a contradiction to the Chinese government’s commitment to religious freedom," Fu emphasized. "We urge President Bush to press the Chinese President Hu Jintao on the religious persecution issue when he pays his planned state visit to the White House next month."
For the China Aid Association’s list of detainees, please visit its press-release section.