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Christian Monitor – The China Aid Association (CAA) learned that on October 20, nearly 50 house church leaders were arrested while attending a retreat in Gougezhuang Village , Laishui County , Hebei Province ( 河北涞水县苟各庄). According to an eyewitness report, these leaders from independent house churches came from over 20 provinces. The retreat was planned to discuss how best to help the poor, orphaned, and the floating population in urban areas.

Arrests were made at 4:00 pm by the officers of the Public Security Bureau of the City of Baoding and officials of religious affairs of that city. Ms. Dai Hong (戴弘), one of the church leaders, was beaten by an officer named Tang, whose badge number is either 042824 or 042829 in the incident.

Among those arrested is a famous evangelist, pastor Zhang Mingxuan (张明选) who, along with two other Christians, once ran a nursing home in Beijing . He was previously detained prior to President Bush’s trip to China in February, 2002.

“It is no coincident that this kind of incident should happen again before President Bush’s upcoming visit to China next month.” says Bob Fu, the President of China Aid Association. “The Chinese government is systematically targeting the house church movement in China . We urge the international community and President Bush to pressure the Chinese government to protect freedom of religion and other human rights.” President Bush is expected to visit Beijing on November 19th of this year.

Letters of concern can be sent to the Chinese Embassy in Washington DC at the following address:

Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong

Embassy of the People’s Republic of China

2300 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington DC 20008

Tel:(202) 328-2500 Fax:(202) 588-0032

Director of Religious Affairs: (202) 328-2512