Pastor and 20 Believers from Government Sanctioned Church Detained in Central China

ICC Note: Over the weekend a Christian pastor, sister, and many other church workers were detained by security forces in central China. The details are still emerging on the situation. It appears that a scheme was developed by local security forces to gather leaders of the Nanle County Christian Church and then take them into custody. The large church is a part of the state-sanctioned church system and the exact reasoning for the arrests remains unknown.

11/17/2013 China (China Aid News) – More than 20 believers from Nanle County Christian Church, a Three-Self sanctioned church, were detained between yesterday morning and today.

The series of detainments began yesterday when, around 9:30 a.m., Pastor Zhang Xiaojie met with the Nanle County Public Security Bureau Chief and a deputy at the church in what appears to have been a trap set to detain Zhang.

During the meeting, approximately a dozen police officers entered the church and “tied up” Zhang without showing any formal documents, according to the church.

Church members and Zhang’s family members gathered in front of the police station to protest Zhang’s detainment. The group was denied entry to the building and some where beat, “causing Pastor Zhang’s old age parents’ hospitalization for high blood pressure,” church members said. Zhang’s two sisters were detained during the protest.

Over the course of the night, local government officials had church members come to a local government building where officials “lectured them, threatened them and instilled fear in them,” the church said.

This morning, every gate to the church was guarded and anyone who tried to enter was detained, an unnamed church member said.

No information on the location of any detainees is available; however, it is known that they are being tortured, according to the church. Additionally, no arrest notices have been given to the families of the detainees.

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