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More than 100 house Church leaders arrested in Xinjiang

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Press Release

More Than 100 House Church Leaders Arrested in Xinjiang; One Arrested Leader Tortured in Henan

On July 12, 2004, more than 100 house church leaders have been arrested in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region of Western China. The group was meeting for a retreat when they were surrounded by more than 200 military police, Public Security Bureau (PSB) and other officers, who arrived at the scene in 46 police and military vehicles. No arrest warrants or even official identification papers were shown by officers as they carried out the assault.

The meeting was being held at the Retreat Center for Railroad Workers located in Section 5 of Liu Gong Town, Chang Ji Zhou (district) in Xinjiang.

Thirty of the leaders are still being held by PSB near the retreat center. The rest have been transported back to their home areas and are being held by the local area PSB in their respective areas. Several have been confined in the so-called Transformation and Study Center where they will be interrogated and pressured to renounce their faith. If they don't, they will be formally charged and tried.

The co-workers meeting was being held to train and encourage Christian workers in the Xinjiang area, China' western frontier and the home of the mostly-Muslim Uyghur people. The meeting was sponsored by the Ying Shang Church, a large house-church network headquartered in Anhui Province.

CAA sources say those who were from other provinces were treated differently after the arrest. In China it is illegal to cross a provincial border to hold religious meetings without approval from the Religious Affairs Bureau and the state-sponsored Three Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) church. Police have already contacted the local home village of those from outside Xinjiang, seeking additional information about their religious activities.
Among those confirmed to have been arrested was Wang Yu Lian who has been a leader in the Ying Shang Church for more than 20 years. He is being held near the camp in Xinjiang.

Also arrested was Jin Da, the 34-year-old General Secretary of the TSPM of Ningbo City, Zhejiang Province. Jin has 46 TSPM churches under his leadership, but reportedly is supportive of unregistered house churches as well.

Also last week in China, 40 house church leaders were arrested while attending a training seminar in Cheng Du City, Sichuan Province. Also arrested was a Taiwanese couple, who were leading the seminar.

All 40 have been released, but the whereabouts of the Taiwanese couple is unknown. CAA sources say it is likely they will be deported and blacklisted by the Chinese government.

Meanwhile, CAA just learned that 39-year-old pastor Xing Jinfu, one of the senior China Gospel Fellowship(CGF) leaders was transferred from Hubei province to an undisclosed location in Henan province. CAA's reliable source says pastor Xing has been under torture by his interrogators for his confessions of CGF's ministry operations. Mr. Xing Jinfu was arrested on June 11 along with about 100 other church leaders in Wuhan city. Because of the publicity and international pressure, except pastor Xing, all other arrested were released.

"These cases show irrefutable evidence of the worsening situation on religious persecution in China," said Bob Fu, CAA's president. "We urge people of all faith to take actions to address your concerns."

Letters of protest can be sent to the Chinese Embassy in Washington DC at the following address:
Ambassador Yang Jiechi
Embassy of the People's Republic of China
2300 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington DC 20008
Tel:(202) 328-2500 Fax:(202) 588-0032
Director of Religious Affairs: (202) 328-2512

Issued by China Aid Association, Inc. on July 20, 2004

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