By BosNewsLife Asia Service
BEIJING, CHINA (BosNewsLife)– A group of Chinese house church Christians, including key leaders, remained detained in China’s Henan province Tuesday May 5, after security forces raided a house church in Xinye city, rights investigators told BosNewsLife.
U.S.-based China Aid Association (CAA), a well-informed advocacy organization, said 18 Christians were arrested in the April 30 raid. It added that 16 of them were still behind bars, including leaders of the house church group China Gospel Fellowship (CGF). Among the detained Christians were also 10 preachers from Henan province, CAA said.
They were identified as Wang Donggui, Yang Chengqun, GuoDaying, Hao Xuecheng, Lun Zhidian, Lian Fengmei, Chen Mingao, Ren Zhiai, Zhai Laoxue and Zhai Jinai.
CAA said the detained Christians gathered for a special “communion service at a house church in Xinye city” in Henan province when “a dozen” officers of the Public Security Bureau (PSB), China’s main law enforcement agency, interrupted the worship service.
“Eighteen Christians were taken to the PSB office of Xinye city. They were each forced to pay a 1000 yuan (about $150) fine,” before being send to prison, CAA added in a statement.
Chinese officials could not immediately be reached for comment. However the Communist government has denied religious rights abuses and says Christians are free to worship in the state-run churches.
CAA said it has urged its supporters to contact PSB officials and “request the 16 Christians immediately be released.” The PSB officials were named as Deputy Director Shi Zhengxian with office phone number +86-377-66222611-35068 and Chen Xiaogang, leader of a PSB Special Squad with mobile phone number +86-13838748167.
There has been growing pressure on house churches amid concerns among Communist Party officials about the spread of Christianity in China, rights groups and churches say.