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ICC Note: Across China, Christians continue to face harassment, detention, and imprisonment at the hands of the Chinese government. While China does allow for Christians to worship in “Three-Self” Churches, these are regulated by the government, forcing many Christians to worship in illegal house churches. Many Christians connected with pro-Democracy movements also face arrest, including the 13 Christians arrested in Beijing two weeks ago. Lawyers for the group have just been allowed to visit for the first time after the Christians were charged for taking part in “illegal assemblies and demonstrations.” 
2/13/2014 China (UCANews) – Lawyers yesterday expressed concern over the fate of 13 “house church” Christians who have been detained for more than two weeks after they tried to hold a bible study meeting on the outskirts of Beijing.
The two lawyers, who on Tuesday were allowed for the first time to visit Xu Yonghai – the leader of Shengai, or Holy Love, Christian Fellowship – and petitioner Xu Caihong, said the Christians had been accused of taking part in “illegal assemblies and demonstrations” and put in criminal detention at the Beijing No1 Detention Centre.
Their families have not been formally notified, they said. According to an account Xu Yonghai posted online, he and more than a dozen Christians travelled to the Tongzhou district of the capital on January 24 for bible study at the home of former dissident Zhang Wenhe.
Zhang was temporarily detained by police at the time so they could not meet, but later in the day they returned to Zhang’s home to bring him medicine for his heart conditions.
When they were there, police burst in and took them away to be held at a police station. Xu was released early the next day, but was detained again on January 26.
Lawyer Liang Xiaojun said Xu Yonghai, a former doctor once jailed for sending an essay on church persecution to a US magazine, had been fasting since he was detained. “He was in good spirits, but said he would continue fasting and praying,” Liang said. He said Xu was puzzled as to why the authorities took action against his fellowship, which is in its 25th year.
“He said he was embarrassed that these people only wanted to hear him preach and they got arrested,” Liang said.
Xu wrote in his account that while in custody the Christians were repeatedly asked whether they were in the Shijingshan district of the capital on January 22, the day when rights advocate Xu Zhiyong was put on trial in the area. Several petitioners in the church group had demonstrated outside the court. Beijing Public Security Bureau did not respond to a faxed request for comment yesterday.

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