By Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service
XINJIANG, CHINA (ANS) -- Eleven minors and two adults have been detained by Xinjiang Public Security Bureau (PSB) officials while attending a House Church Bible Study in Huocheng County, Qingshuihe township.
China Aid Association (CAA) says that at 9:00pm on Febuary 28, 2008 (Beijing Time), PSB officials disrupted the gathering and detained the minors along with Ms. Fu Jun (41), owner of the house, and Ms. Lu Lanxiang (42). The children, ages 16-17, were brought to the Qingshuihe township PSB office in freezing weather and were not allowed to bring adequate clothing.
Sources close to CAA say that 16-year-old Lou Nan, daughter of pastor Lou Yuanqi, who pastors the house church, is one of the detained. Pastor Lou Yuanqi was not present during the detention of the other members. Pastor Lou was detained on October 20, 2006, along with three other pastors for organizing the House Church. All four pastors served 32 days in detention where they were severely beaten by guards and inmates daily.
By calling the PSB office in which the 13 are being held, CAA confirmed that the 13 members now detained are being held by Qingshuihe township PSB officials under the charge of "illegal religious gathering." Family members have been denied visitation. The condition and wellbeing of the church members remains unknown.
In a media release, CAA says it condemns the actions of the PSB officials who have callously detained 11 minors and their Bible teachers for gathering together.
It adds: "We exhort Government officials to remain consistent in policies of religious freedom and release the members being held."
To voice your concern please contact:
Qingshuihe Township PSB Office- +86-999-3291054
Chinese Embassy in Washington DC
Address: 2201 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W.
Washington D.C. 20007
Tel: (202) 338-6688, (202)5889760
Fax: (202) 588-9760
CAA says it has also learned that on Febuary 27, Beijing House Church leader pastor Cai Zhuohua was detained for 6 hours at Tiantongyuan PSB office of Changping District, Beijing.
Pastor Cai went to the PSB office to register his son's residence card at 11am and then the PSB officers abruptly detained him for the so-called "suspicion of making false documents" although all the documents pastor Cai brought are issued by the Chinese government agencies. He was released at 5pm without any charges. Pastor Cai served three years imprisonment for printing bibles in 2004.
In another case in Inner Mongolia where 40 church leaders were arrested on Febuary 20, CAA says it has learned that all were released on Febuary 21 including one missionary from South Korea. Pastor Wang Dawei, the president of Chinese House Church Alliance, Inner Mongolia branch was asked to pay 100,000yuan ($13,000 USD) for being accused of illegal Bible printing.