Beijing (March 11). A prominent Chinese House Church leader was re-arrested while trying to plant a Church in Inner-Mongolia bordering Russia. While another ‘Born-Again Movement’ leader whose whereabouts unknown for few days is confirmed to be in the custody of China’s National Security Bureau.
Zeng Guangbo, a Chinese house church leader from Nanyang city, Henan province was re-arrested on March 1, 2004 while trying to pass the Inner-Mongolia border to Russia for a house church ministry there. According to an eyewitness, Zeng was taken away by Nanyang PSB two hours after he was detained at that customs. Zeng, 36, was first arrested on Jan. 25 but managed to escape several days later. He was expelled from his work unit in Beijing as a military policeman in 1988 because of involvement in underground House Church movement. It is reported that Zeng's passport number had since been put into the national customs computer system which caused his recent arrest.
Bob Fu, the President of China Aid Association is deeply concerned about Mr. Zeng’s situation since he is in the hands of Nanyang PSB, Henan province. He says, “The police in Nanyang are notorious for their brutality towards house church Christians. Because Zeng has been closely working with the ‘Born-again’ Movement leader Ms. Xu Yongling, the police may use whatever means necessary including torture to get information from him.”
Also, according to reliable sources, Ms. Xu Yongling, known as ‘Deborah’ in the West, was also arrested on Jan. 25 and now is confirmed in the custody of the Henan National Security Bureau. Xu was finally allowed to talk with her relatives in Nanyang on March 5. In a supervised phone conversation she indicated that the police might use a false promise to trap her nephew if he comes to bail her out. Her last and only words to the relatives were, “Please be very careful of your decision”.
On March 6, Xu’s nephew’s home was raided again by Nanyang police.
China Aid Association deplores the recent series of arrests and arbitrary detention of these innocent church leaders and calls the China National People’s Congress to seriously implement the relevant international human rights covenants she enacted for the protection of Chinese citizens religious freedom.
Outwardly, China is trying hard to portray itself as an open, progressive and broad minded country as she is preparing to host Olympic Games in 2008 with the recent construction of two protestant Churches in Beijing itself, but her attitude towards House Church leaders seem unchanged.
Note : The Ministry of Public Security and its local-level security bureaus go by the acronym "PSB."