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(ANS) – Over 100 leaders of China’s rapidly growing underground churches have been arrested in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region of Western China, as part of an ongoing government-led crackdown on evangelical Christians, a leading human rights official confirmed Thursday July 22. “The 100 in Xinjiang are all currently still in custody,” said Todd Nettleton, Director of News Services at The Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) which investigates the plight of persecuted Christians. “We encourage Christians around the world to pray for these brothers and sisters, and to call the Chinese embassy on their behalf.” In a statement to ASSIST News Service (ANS) he said the group was meeting for a retreat when they were surrounded by over 200 military police, Public Security Bureau (PSB) and other officers, who “arrived at the scene in 46 police and military” vehicles. “No arrest warrants or even official identification papers were shown by officers as they carried out the raid,” VOM claimed. The meeting was being held at the “Retreat Center for Railroad Workers” located in Section 5 of Liu Gong Town, Chang Ji Zhou (district) in Xinjiang, said VOM, which has close ties with the house church movement. Further arrests took place last week in Cheng Du City in Sichuan Province at a training seminar when 40 house church leaders and a Taiwanese couple who were leading the seminar were arrested. The 40 have been released, but the whereabouts of the Taiwanese couple is not known, CSW said, amid fears for their lives.