Christian Activist in China Detained Without Warrant

( [email protected] ) Oct 26, 2003 10:57 PM EST

BEIJING – Liu Fenggang, an activist for China’s unofficial Christian church was detained in the city of Hangshou, Oct. 13. Liu had been investigating the recent destruction of churches when police took him into unwarranted custody.

After the arrest, Police searched Liu’s home in Beijing, and confiscated two computers, an address book, cameras, documents and other items. According to Bi Yuxia, Liu’s wife, the police did not present her with the official notification of arrest needed to hire a lawyer.

"This is outrageous and absurd," said Bob Fu, member of the China Aid Association. “Liu was simply trying to help hire attorneys for the Christian activists and pass on assistance from other unofficial churches.”

Since July, officials tore down more than 10 Christian churches in the Hangshou area. Among the churches labeled, "illegal religious venues,” was the “Tedusan” church - a converted warehouse that could hold 500 worshippers. Tedusan was torn down on Sept. 20.

China’s authorities only allow worship in state-monitored churches. While the official Protestant church, named, “the Three-Self Patriotic Movement,” claims 10 million followers, up to 50 million are believed to worship in unofficial Protestant congregations.