21 Major House Church Leaders Sent to Labor Camp in Shandong at the Same Time

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Linyi City, Shandong (Christian Newswire) -- In a most massive persecution case since 1983, CAA learned 21 major house church leaders were sent to labor camp at the same time recently by Linyi City Re-education through labor Commission. They were all detained on December 7, 2007 when they gathered together for leadership training with other 249 leaders in Hedong District, Linyi city, Shandong.

After paying fines and finishing detention from a few days to a few weeks, 249 were released. The 21 most senior leaders were sentenced to 3 years to 1 year and three months. They were accused as "evil cult" members, an arbitrary charge to any non-registered house churches by the PSB. Among the 21 sentenced, 17 are men and 4 are women.

According to some family members, the Linyi PSB refused to send any notification paper regarding the labor camp decision as the Chinese law requires.

In 1983, thousands of the house church leaders were sent to labor camp when China launched its first so-called "strike hard"(Yan Da) campaign.

"CAA calls upon the Chinese authority to immediately release these innocent church leaders," said Rev. Bob Fu, "The international community will hold the Chinese government accountable for its reluctance to improve its worsening record on religious freedom before the Beijing Olympics this summer."

CAA also learned the 28 US House of Representatives from the House Committee on International Affairs have drafted a resolution condemning the worsening religious persecution and arbitrary detention situation in China. Congressman McCotter from the State of Michigan is the sponsor of this resolution. If the Chinese government is not seen as making any measurable progress on religious freedom and human rights, the resolution will be expected to the floor soon.