Relaymedia

Two prominent Chinese house church leaders detained

Jan 10, 2008 12:38 PM EST

Two prominent leaders of one of China’s largest house church networks have been detained by local police in Jiuquan City, Gansu Province in China since 20 December 2007, according to China Aid Association (CAA).

Tian Min-ge and Su Dean are both leaders of the Fangcheng parent house church. They were conducting a service with a third leader, Wang Hongliang, when local authorities raided the meeting.

The three men were taken into detention where they were held for ‘gathering in an illegal assembly under the guise of religion’.

Wang was released after serving 15 days detention. However, Tian and Su’s penalties were elevated to criminal detention on 5 January 2008. Tian has since been transferred from Jiaquan Detention Centre to the Fangcheng County Public Security Bureau in Henan Province.

Tian Min-ge, who is also known as Tian Jin and Uncle Jin, has been deeply involved in the growth and development of the Chinese house church over many years.

Aged 71 and in retirement, he has spent the last 20 years in full time ministry. He founded the management team of Daqing Church in Heilongjiang Province and was elected as a leader of the Fangcheng parent house church in his home county in 1994.

Tian is known for his tireless efforts to unite the church and address issues affecting it. In this he worked with well-known house church leader Pastor Zhang Rongliang, who is currently serving a seven and a half year term of imprisonment.

Su Dean has also been very active in the Fangcheng parent house church. This work has included training and equipping Christian workers and teaching across Sichuan Province. He previously oversaw a ministry involving over 200,000 Christians.

The two men are highly regarded and of great influence amongst the house church believers in China due to their immense dedication to the growth of the church.

Alexa Papadouris, Advocacy Director of Christian Solidarity Worldwide, said: “At the beginning of the year of the Beijing Olympics, the treatment of Tian Min-ge and Su Dean highlights the lack of religious freedoms in China.

“This incident occurred just two days after President Hu Jintao presented and reiterated a policy of religious freedom at a session of the politburo of the Communist Party focusing on religion.

“While such statements are welcomed, they must be weighed by the realities experienced on the ground by China’s religious believers. We urge China to abide by its claims and international standards and release these two devoted believers.”

Two prominent leaders of one of China’s largest house church networks have been detained by local police in Jiuquan City, Gansu Province in China since 20 December 2007, according to China Aid Association (CAA).

Tian Min-ge and Su Dean are both leaders of the Fangcheng parent house church. They were conducting a service with a third leader, Wang Hongliang, when local authorities raided the meeting.

The three men were taken into detention where they were held for ‘gathering in an illegal assembly under the guise of religion’.

Wang was released after serving 15 days detention. However, Tian and Su’s penalties were elevated to criminal detention on 5 January 2008. Tian has since been transferred from Jiaquan Detention Centre to the Fangcheng County Public Security Bureau in Henan Province.

Tian Min-ge, who is also known as Tian Jin and Uncle Jin, has been deeply involved in the growth and development of the Chinese house church over many years.

Aged 71 and in retirement, he has spent the last 20 years in full time ministry. He founded the management team of Daqing Church in Heilongjiang Province and was elected as a leader of the Fangcheng parent house church in his home county in 1994.

Tian is known for his tireless efforts to unite the church and address issues affecting it. In this he worked with well-known house church leader Pastor Zhang Rongliang, who is currently serving a seven and a half year term of imprisonment.

Su Dean has also been very active in the Fangcheng parent house church. This work has included training and equipping Christian workers and teaching across Sichuan Province. He previously oversaw a ministry involving over 200,000 Christians.

The two men are highly regarded and of great influence amongst the house church believers in China due to their immense dedication to the growth of the church.

Alexa Papadouris, Advocacy Director of Christian Solidarity Worldwide, said: “At the beginning of the year of the Beijing Olympics, the treatment of Tian Min-ge and Su Dean highlights the lack of religious freedoms in China.

“This incident occurred just two days after President Hu Jintao presented and reiterated a policy of religious freedom at a session of the politburo of the Communist Party focusing on religion.

“While such statements are welcomed, they must be weighed by the realities experienced on the ground by China’s religious believers. We urge China to abide by its claims and international standards and release these two devoted believers.”