US-based religious rights group China Aid Association (CAA) said Hua Huiqi "was released" after half a year behind bars following his arrest by the a branch of the Beijing Public Security on February 8 on charges of "obstruction of justice."

His 76-year-old mother, Shuang Shuying, remained behind bars however. She was formally arrested on February 9 on charges of "willfully damaging public and private property," and sentenced to two years imprisonment by Beijing Chongwen District People’s Court.

CAA and other human rights groups have accused the authorities of trumping up charges to pressure them to stop their involvement in the rapidly growing house church movement.


Elsewhere in China, four house church leaders from Inner Mongolia region who were detained July 14 remained behind bars Saturday, July 28. However 11 others detained with them  were released "after international pressure," CAA added.

Human rights groups have linked the crackdown to concern within the Communist Party about the spread of Christianity in China ahead of the Beijing Olympics next year. There are up to 150 million Christians in China, according some estimates, but some groups put that figure lower.

Chinese officials have denied human rights abuses saying Christians are free to worship in the offcial, government-backed, denominations. (With BosNewsLife Research).


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