China Police Raid Vacation Bible School; Children "Traumatized", Church Leaders Detained

Monday, July 23, 2007

By BosNewsLife News Center

BEIJING, CHINA (BosNewsLife) -- Chinese Christian workers were recovering from injuries Saturday, July 21, after security forces raided a Vacation Bible School (VSB) for children in Jiangsu province, the latest in a series of police raids targeting China's house church movement which detentions of at least 15 leaders, local Christians and investigators said.

Officers of the Public Security Bureau and other law enforcement agencies backed by 10 police vehicles arrived July 11 at the VSB of Zhongzhuang House Church in Jianhu City, where they arrested at least 10 people Chinese Christians said.

Among those detained are the church leader, Pastor Zeng Zhengliang, and teachers, said religious rights monitoring group China Aid Association (CAA).

Citing eyewitness accounts, the CAA said police used "brutal force and injured two of the church workers," during the raid. One of the Christians, identified as Wang Ya, was undergoing emergency treatment in a hospital after he lost consciousness for half an hour, explained CAA,
which has close contacts with house churches in the country.


Another VSB participant had three stitches, the group claimed. "The two brothers who were hospitalized were so beaten that blood came out from their mouths." The 150 children attending the VSB "were traumatized" said CAA, adding that church properties including vide cameras and a computer were confiscated by police.

Elswhere in China, house churches also experienced police raids, including in China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, where in Wuhai city on July 14 special military police reportedly detained the wife of house church Pastor Fu Pengtu, apparently to put pressure on him to end the worship services at his home.

His wife Gao Chinxia, 31, and three other Christians identified as women Xie Yanan and Chen Binghui and Pastor Lie Yukang were taken into custody without charges, CAA explained. Two of those detained, Xie and Chen are house church missionaries from Pingdingshan city of Henan province, the group added. These were no isolated incidents.


Earlier on July 10 in Anhui province local house church leader, Pastor LU Jingxiang, was taken away from his house at Qiaotou town, Chinese Christians said. The Public Seritity Bureau reportedly accused Lu of being involved in "illegal religious activities."

Chinese officials have denied human rights abuses saying they only crackdown on dangerous sects and those violating Chinese law. They have denied religious rights abuses, saying Christians are free to worship within the government-backed churches. However most believers, estimated to be over 100-million, reportedly prefer to gather in underground 'house churches', held often in homes of believers, as they reject government interference.

"We urge President Bush and other administration officials to speak more forcefully on the deteriorating situation of religious persecution in China," CAA said. CAA has also urged the Chinese government to immediately release the arrested pastors. (With BosNewsLife Monitoring and reporting from China).

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