By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Corrrespondent
BEIJING, CHINA (Worthy News)-- Fifteen house church leaders from remote regions of China are being detained while local police attempt to extort money from their families for their release.
In late July, local police along with officers of the Domestic Security Protection Department arrested more than 20 church leaders who gathered in Wuhai to plan summer church activities; they confiscated everything from Bibles to bamboo mats, and then loaded everyone and everything into police vehicles.
Twenty-one detainees were later criminally detained on suspicion of "using a cult organization to undermine national law enforcement," but police failed to even notify the families, or provide the necessary paperwork required for their incarceration.
Before the detainees could be transferred to the detention center in Wuhai, the center found six to be in poor health, so it refused to accept them and they were released; the remaining 15 church leaders were held for 15 days before the Public Security Bureau notified their families that if they raised 50,000 yuan ($7,800), they too would be released. However, even after the monies were delivered to the prosecutor's office, the 15 leaders remained in detention under threat of forced labor and criminal prosecution.
As of this story, the following were still being held in the Wuhai detention center: Dong Zhen, Ren Xitao, Mu Liandi, Mu Guilian, Ning Yuncai, Mi Lili, Huang Xiulian, Uncle Ye, Hao An, Sister Ding, Yu Baojie, Dong Yanxia, Zhang Mingfeng, Zhang Shuxia and Da Yumei
Bob Fu, ChinaAid founder and president, condemned the local Chinese officials and called on them to immediately release these 15 innocent believers by quoting from the Book of Acts.
"As the Bible says, 'It is hard for you to kick against the goads,'" said Fu as he echoed Christ's words to Saul when the Pharisee persecuted the church prior to his life-changing conversion on the road to Damascus. "The church will not retreat in the face of persecution. In fact, it will grow larger and stronger with each passing day."