China Detains House Church Missionary And Co-workers

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

By BosNewsLife Asia Service

BEIJING, CHINA (BosNewsLife) -- A key member and missionary of an unofficial 'house church' in China's Heilongjiang Province faced difficulties Monday, July 7, to worship with fellow believers after Chinese security forces briefly detained him and two co-workers, representatives said.

"The incident is yet another example of the degeneration in human rights and religious freedoms in China as the Beijing Olympic Games draw near," said advocacy group China Aid Association (CAA) in a statement to BosNewsLife.

Jiao Chunbao was reportedly detained by more than 20 government officers and policemen on July 2 in Hegang city, while on on his way to a worship service. "The officials then forcibly escorted Jiao to the local police station [where he was] told that his church was banned from meeting," CAA said. He was allegedly threatened that if meetings continued, he would be re-arrested and placed in long detention.

In addition two female church members, who were not immediately identified, were also briefly taken to a local police station for questioning. CAA claimed that the operation was prepared by government and security officials as well as the Bureau of Religious Affairs and two state-run church groups.


Several other house church groups have also been raided in recent weeks, local believers and independent observers have said.

The crackdown has been linked to worries among Chinese Communist officials about the spread of Christianity in China and concerns that Chinese Christians may use the Olympics in Beijing as an opportunity to gain more international attention for their plight.

China's government has strongly denied religious rights abuses, saying it is just carrying out the laws of the land. It also announced that China will provide free copies of the Bible during the Olympic Games to athletes, spectators, tourists and anyone else who wants one.

About 10,000 bilingual copies of the Bible will be distributed in the Olympic Village, officials said. However Christians groups argue that more Bibles are needed in the country of over 1 billion people.

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