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CAA (12/13/05) – Hours after CAA’s press release, CAA learned that all of the 29 arrested house church leaders were released at 4 PM, December 13, 2005 (Beijing Time). They were released in less than 24 hours after intensive interrogations and heavy international media and US government pressure. However, the Public Security Bureau of Xincai County refused to return the illegally confiscated personal property including three motor bicycles, personal Bibles, one cell phone and a large number of blankets. The leaders were reportedly in good spirits despite the security agents threats if they have any further “illegal gatherings.”

“We’ll continue our ministry to care for these poor AIDS victims.” said one of the released pastors.

CAA also learned the civil claim filed by the beaten Christian businessman Mr. Tong Qimiao was rejected without reason by the District People’s Court of Kashi City in Xinjiang. Mr. Tong was severely beaten and suffered a fractured rib by a Xinjiang State Security Bureau Agent on September 28, 2005. He was interrogated for his relationship with a house church in that area. Because Mr. Tong took legal action against his torturers, his furniture factory and store in a local mall was ordered closed. October 13 & 14th many items of furniture were confiscated by the local authority.

CAA welcomes the release of the church leaders and urges the Chinese authority to return their private property and give Mr. Tong a fair hearing and due process.

Letters of protest 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

Issued by China Aid on December 12, 2005