A raid on a Chinese house church two days before a riot broke out in Uyghur Autonomous Region in Western China has led to the arrest of eight Christians, meanwhile two Chinese American missionaries are reportedly missing.
U.S.-based ChinaAid International, a Chinese Christian advocacy group said Monday Chinese authorities raided Beitun House Church in the A'Ler Tai area of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on 3 July where 8 Christians were arrested. Two have been released so far, four believers are still being held in a detention center in an undisclosed location, and two Chinese American missionaries are missing, it said.
ChinaAid said the riots that erupted two days after the arrest on July 5, in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, has compounded the problem, and it has had difficulty contacting believers.
Last week, the government cut off all Internet and phone connections to the outside to contain the ethnic violence between Han and Uyghur Chinese in the province. China’s Xinhua News Agency reports the new death toll at 192. It says the new toll has been announced by Xinjiang Communist Party officials on 15 July, previously reported at 184.
ChinaAid has issued an urgent request to Christians around the world to pray the violence will cease in Xinjiang, and that the love of Jesus Christ will bring peace and reconciliation between the Han Chinese and Uygurs.
Open Doors, a Christian ministry specialized in defending and monitoring the persecuted Christians around the world in its Open Doors' Watch List 2009 continues to place China at 12th spot on the ranking under "severe limitations" - countries where Christians cannot practice their faith freely. It comes under the same category with Algeria, Iraq, Myanmar (Burma), Pakistan, and others.
Christians, especially those from House Churches continue to suffer at the hands of the authorities in various forms.
It has also requested Christians to contact government authorities to express their concern for the four believers from Beitun House Church and the two missing Chinese American missionaries.