China: Registered Church Raided, Leaders Arrested and Released

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

March 14, 2006 (Voice of the Martyrs) -- On March 6th at 11 a.m., Beijing time, the Chinese Public Security Bureau (PSB) raided a registered Protestant church in Qiaozhuang Village, Wangmingkou Town, Xiangcheng County, Henan Province. Among the arrested church leaders were 34-year-old Pastor Liu Tuanjie, 52-year-old Mr. Li Xueqin and Ms. Ma. Shortly after her arrest, Ms. Ma was released when her family paid a fine of $400 U.S. Pastors Liu and Li were not released until the evening of March 10th, after persistent urging from China Aid Association and global prayers for their immediate discharge.

While 50 Christians were receiving Bible training in the church building from Pastor Liu of Shangshui County, Henan Province, four PSB officers surrounded the premises. Even though the church is certified through the government’s Three-Self Patriotic Movement, the PSB declared the training fellowship as an “illegal evil cult” meeting.

The reasoning behind this declaration is rooted in a policy devised by the Chinese government, which states that unless there is explicit permission granted from a higher authority, even the government-approved clergies are forbidden to minister in a city outside his so-called “designated area.” This “Three-Designate” (San Ding) policy was enacted by the communist authorities to control religious growth, only allowing certified clergies to perform religious services at a specific location and time.