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50 House Church Leaders Arrested, Then Released After International Pressure

ICC Note:

Though 50 Chinese house church leaders were arrested on July 4 during a celebration of the Chinese House Church Alliance’s fourth anniversary, all were released by 6pm after ChinaAid issued a press release alerting the international media.

7/6/09 China (ChinaAid) About 11a.m. on July 4 (Beijing time), Pastor “Bike” Zhang Mingxuan and 50 senior house church leaders, including 20 different provincial leaders, of the Chinese House Church Alliance (CHCA) were arrested in Nanyang city, Henan province. Due to immediate international pressure, by 6 p.m. all were released.

The raid occurred when house church leaders were gathered at Pastor Bike’s house church on July 3 and 4 to celebrate the 4th year anniversary of the founding of the CHCA. About two dozen officers from the Public Security Bureau (PSB) and Religious Affairs Bureau (RAB) of Nanyang city arrived at the end of the meeting when some of the house church leaders were being ordained as church elders. According to ChinaAid contacts, the government officials showed restraint by allowing the meeting to finish. Pastor Bike, president of the CHCA, preached and then concluded with prayers for the church and for the Chinese government.

After ChinaAid issued an urgent press release through ChinaAid’s Chinese website, international media, including Radio Free Asia called some leaders for interviews while the leaders were being interrogated at the hotel. By 6 p.m. authorities released all the leaders. No one was hurt during the raid, and Pastor Bike took full responsibility for calling the meeting.

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