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China Detains Dozens of Christians in Xinjiang

ICC Note:

46 House Church Christians were arrested in Xinjiang’s Kashi City on Sunday, April 13. Although most of the believers were released on bail, they were first forced to confess their illegal worship activities, study the Government’s handbook on Religious Policy, and return a week later to recite the policy to government officials.

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4/17/08 China (BosNewsLife) Chinese security forces detained dozens of House Church Christians in Xinjiang Autonomous Region, forcing them to show allegiance to the government as part of a crackdown similar to a campaign against Buddhist monks in nearby Tibet, rights watches said Thursday, April 17.

Some 46 Christians were arrested in the region’s Kashi City Sunday, April 13, for holding a Bible class and worship in a private home without government permission, said advocacy group China Aid Association (CAA), speaking on behalf of the believers.

Most of them were released on bail after they were forced to confess their “illegal Sunday worship activities and study the Government’s handbook on Religious Policy,” CAA said.

They were also required to return and recite the policy to officials within one week, the group added. Two others, Chinese Christian woman Ma Wenxiu, 42, and a Christian man, Ding Zhichun, 40, were sentenced to fifteen days detention at the Shache County detention center in Kashi City, CAA said.

OPENING HOME

Ding Zhichun’s detention was apparently related to his decision to open his home for worship services. “Government officials has launched a strategic campaign against House Church Members in Xinjiang Autonomous Region, entitled “Anti-illegal Christian Activities Campaign,” said CAA, which is in close contact with Christians in the region.

It said that the apparent recent crackdown in Xianjiang “is similar to the ongoing campaign the government has [launched] in Tibet, where Buddhist Monks are being forced to swear their allegiance to the government’s established religious policy and denounce the Dalai Lama.”

Chinese authorities have strongly rejected human rights abuses, accusing the “Dalai Lama clique” of sparking violence in Tibet. The Dalai Lama has strongly denied those charges.