China Arrests Dozens of Christians, Including Children
Despite China’s continued efforts to prove some hint of religious freedom exists in the country before the Olympics, house churches continue to be raided daily, with the latest including even the arrest of children.
3/4/08 China (BosNewsLife) A group of 70 Christians remained detained Tuesday, March 4, in Chinas Henan Province, some two weeks after security forces raided a Bible training meeting, while some three children in Xinjiang Province were also arrested for their involvement in Christian activities, fellow believers said.
Hundreds of believers attended the gathering in Henans Shangqiu City on February 12, when over 20 policemen attacked the meeting, said US-based advocacy group China Aid Association (CAA).
The group added that some 80 believers were taken away in over 10 police cars. While 10 Christians were later released, the others remain behind bars on charges of “using a cult to violate law enforcement,” the group explained. There was no immediate comment from Chinese officials.
“Twenty of them are detained in a detention center, while 50 are held in prison,” including 39 women, and 11 men, the group said. CAA claimed that police also confiscated blankets, food, air conditioners and furniture from the home of Xue Weimin, where the Bible meeting took place.
Elsewhere in China, police in Huocheng County of Xinjiang Province re-arrested three minors, just days after detaining them for their involvement in Christian activities. They will serve 15 days in a Xinyuan detention center, CAA said.
There names were not immediately released.
The latest incidents have been linked by rights groups to a wider crackdown on especially evangelical Christians and house churches ahead of the Beijing Olympic Games later this year. Chinese officials have reportedly expressed concerns that Christians will use the event to spread Christianity or to world attention for religious rights issues.