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Five Detained Xinjiang Church Leaders Released After International Pressure

5/18/07 China (China Aid Association, Inc.) — CAA has learned after intensive diplomacy and media pressure, the five detained house church leaders in Xinjiang were released. They were released ten days earlier than the official criminal detention intended. Two of them were released on May 17 and the other three were released in the evening of May 18, 2007( Beijing time). Credible sources say family members of the detained pastors were called by the local government official to pay 2000 Yuan ($250) for each detainee to the prison for their release because the “detainee were very ill.” However after the family members paid, they found the detained church leaders were fine except two male pastors were tortured with some visible wounds on their legs and arms. They are in very good spirits and joyful. “We are not cults but true followers of Jesus. Compared to what Jesus has to suffer for us, our (suffering) is too light to mention.” said one male pastor. He was beaten repeatedly when he was interrogated each time.

The released pastors and their family members asked CAA to thank the effort of the international community for their release. Though the four American missionaries from Michigan who were released earlier refused to speak up for them, the released Chinese pastors still want them to pick up their luggage left with a Chinese host family. About 30 major house church leaders were detained when they met with four American Christians on April 19, 2007 in Akesu city, Xinjiang province. After CAA reported about this case, most of them were released in a few days.

The names of the five released leaders are Ms. Xinglan Zhao, Ms. Xiurong Huang, Pastor Tianlu Yang, 41, Pastor Chaoyi Wang, 41, Ms. Cuiling Li, 48.

” Chinese House Church believers are willing to contribute their gift and love to help China build a true civil society” said Rev. Bob Fu, the president of CAA, “we hope the spirit of the rule of law and religious freedom will prevail in Xinjiang.”

Issued by China Aid Association Inc. on May 18, 2007 © China Aid Association, Inc