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China Releases Dozens of Church Leaders But Detains House Church Official

By BosNewsLife News Center

3/8/07 China (BosNewsLife) US-based religious rights group China Aid Association (CAA) said that after “intensive international pressure local police released 33 arrested house church leaders and three leaders from South Korea .”

However one Pastor, Dong Quanyu, was sentenced to 10 days administrative detention for organizing an “illegal gathering”, CAA added. Pastor Dong is the vice-President of Chinese House Church Alliance, an umbrella group of the rapidly expanding ‘house churches’, which are named this way as they are often organized in homes of believers.

The group was detained after security forces raided a house church Bible study in Wancheng District of Nanyang city in Henan province on March 6, BosNewsLife learned. The Christians were taken to the police station for interrogation for almost one day, CAA said.

INTERNATIONAL CONCERNS

The reported raid has raised international concerns over the different messages China gives regarding reforms and respect for human rights.

China ‘s Communist government has said however that Christians are free to worship, but only in the official churches or registered meetings.

Yet, human rights groups claim that most of China ‘s Christians, 130 million of them according some estimates, prefer to gather outside the government-backed churches for fear of interference by Communist authorities