Voice Of the Martyrs (VOM), an international Christian persecution watchdog group, is urging China to release more than 100 house church leaders who were rounded up last week by security forces as part of an ongoing government-led crackdown on evangelical Christians.
The group is encouraging believers everywhere to send letters of protest to the nearest Chinese embassy. The believers were arrested Friday, Aug. 6, in Kaifeng City, in China's Henan province as they were beginning a retreat. According to reports, 200 military policemen, Public Security Bureau officers and other authorities arrived in about 20 police and military vehicles along with six minibuses.
Among those arrested are the leaders Zhang Wanshun of Sanmenxia City, Zhang Tianyun of Nanyang City and Yu Guoying of Tongxu County.
Meanwhile, Australia has rejected a bid by an influential Chinese academic and dissident for political asylum. United Press International reported that Zhao Jing, who slipped away from a tour group in Sydney on July 21 with a colleague, believes her application was rejected "under pressure from Beijing" as the two countries are discussing a free trade deal. Zhao said she could face "up to 10 years in jail" if she returns to China for her role in helping distribute books about Chinese persecution of Mongolian and Tibetan minorities living in the country.