Christian "Disappearing" in China

Monday, December 15, 2008

By BosNewsLife Asia Service

BEIJING, CHINA (BosNewsLife) -- Four Christians remained missing Friday, December 12, more than a month after they were detained in China's Hubei province amid a police crackdown on believers, including missionaries, in the region, a house church network said.

The South China Church (SCC), which represents house churches in Hubei, said in published remarks that three men, Yi Peng, Zhu Yongping, and another unidentified believer and a woman, Wang Ke, disappeared early November. They were last seen being forcibly taken away by officials of the Bureau of State Security, one of China's main law enforcement agencies, Christians said.

None have been heard from since. SCC leaders said the incident came amid "arrests, beatings and disappearances of Christians in their house churches in Jingmen city and Xiangfan city areas." Some worshipers were allegedly publicly beaten by plainclothes officials while their Bibles, other personal belongings and money were taken.

In one incident on November 1, house church Christians Li Duojia, Qiu Xiangying and one other believer were reportedly attacked while getting ready to board a train at Jingmen Train Station.

The SCC said they were beaten "by seven or eight plainclothes officials from the Bureau of State Security" and other police investigators.


"They were handcuffed and detained at a hotel across the street. The authorities took away their Bibles, saying: "We persecute you, confiscate your Bibles and our purpose is not to allow you to believe in Jesus. … This persecution of you is to thoroughly destroy your church, get rid of the missionaries and disband you believers," the SCC added in its report published by advocacy group China Aid Association.

During the interrogation, authorities allegedly grabbed the Christians by their hair and took photos and finger prints from their hands and the soles of their feet. CAA quoted SCC officials as saying that "Many missionaries and believers are so chased that they cannot go back to their own homes...and take care of their parents or raise their own children."

The SCC said it has urged "peace-loving people of righteousness from all walks of life to show their concern for the South China Church and Chinese believers being persecuted by the authorities." China's government has denied wrongdoing, saying Christians are free to worship in the state supported denominations.

House churches are often deemed illegal as they are operating outside the mainstream churches, while Christian missionary activities are viewed as subversive activities against the Communist state, according to government officials and rights groups.

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