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Security Forces Raid China House Church

Thursday, 08 June 2006

By BosNewsLife News Center

BEIJNG , CHINA (BosNewsLife)– Three members of an underground house church in China ’s Henan province remained in prison Thursday, June 8, after security forces raided the congregation last month and detained dozens of believers during a Sunday worship service, supporters said.

The Christians still held at Ba-Yi Prison in Henan ’s Fugou County were identified as two women, Chen Xuelan, 58, who hosted the gathering and Cao Yan, 55, and 52-year-old Pastor Li Shunmin.
US-based religious rights advocacy group China Aid Association (CAA) told BosNewsLife that the troubles began May 28, when officers of the Public Security Bureau (PSB) entered the home of a believer in the area of Xiguan Ma Jia Chang in Fugou County .
DOZENS DETAINED
They “took 28 church members to the police station,” said CAA. While 23 Christians were released later that evening, one Christian woman, 59-year-old Liu Yuemei, was released only June 1 “after her family was forced to pay a fine of 1600 Yuan (US $200),” the group added.
Another lady, 35-year-old Chang Xinhong, was released Thursday, June 8, June 8, after she promised to pay her fine in cash. It is unclear when and if the three remaining detained Christians will be released, CAA suggested.
Besides taking prisoners, police without a search warrant or detention papers, also confiscated Bibles and notebooks of the church members, the organization claimed.
LAW SUIT
It said that the Christians decided to launch a law suit against their treatment and the confiscation of properties. Two officials of the Chinese Christian Legal Aid Association will defend them, CAA said.
The organization said it had urged the Chinese government “to release these Christians and to honor their international and Constitutional commitment for religious freedom.” Chinese authorities did not react to the latest reports of alleged persecution. But the Chinese government has in the past denied any wrongdoing, saying it only combats “sects” deemed dangerous to society.
It also point out that Christians are free to worship in the official, government, backed churches. However human rights watchers claim most of China ’s estimated 80-million Christians prefer to gather in ‘house churches’ as the official churches have close links to the Communist government and its Atheistic ideology. (With BosNewsLife Research and reports from China ).