China Briefly Detains Influential House Pastor

Saturday, August 14, 2010

By Worthy News Asia Service

BEIJING, CHINA (Worthy News)-- An influential Chinese house church pastor was briefly detained in southern China shortly after authorities evicted his congregation from a hotel, his church and rights investigators said Friday, August 13.

Advocacy group China Aid Association (CAA) said security forces took Pastor Wang Dao early Friday, August 13, from his home in Chengzhong Village in Guangzhou region to a nearby station of the Public Security Bureau, China's main law enforcement agency.

The incident happened while his wife Sun was away, CAA added. He was released later in the day, CAA and church members said.

Earlier on Thursday, August 12, Pastor Wang Dao was also "unreasonably harassed" by five police officers from the Municipal Domestic Security Protection Squad and Nanpu Police Station at his rented home in Chengzhong Village added the Liangren House Church in a statement seen by Worthy News.

Pastor Wang Dao has been repeatedly arrested and detained for leading worship gatherings in his home--the most recent being his arrest on May 9, when he was threatened with exile and was denied meeting with his lawyers, Christians said. He was reportedly released on bail June 13, to await trial at home


This week's alleged harassment came shortly after the Liangren House Church was evicted Wednesday, August 11, from the Zhuying Hotel in Guangzhou region, explained a church member in published remarks.

"Zhuying Hotel, under great pressures from the police and other government agencies, unilaterally terminated the one-year lease contract it signed with Pastor Wang Dao on July 16. We have had to move several dozens of times in the past two years," the church member said, speaking on condition of anonymity apparently for security reasons.

There was no immediate reaction from Chinese officials, but the government has repeatedly denied it violates religious rights.

Human rights groups have linked the reported harassment of Pastor Wang Dao and other Christian leaders to concern among government officials about the growing house church movement in communist-run China.

Most of the estimated 130-million Chinese Christians are believed to worship in homes and other buildings, outside government approved churches.