China Releases House Church President; Detains Others

By BosNewsLife Asia Service

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Chinese Christians can face persecution, several advocacy groups say.


BEIJING, CHINA (BosNewsLife)-- The president of the Chinese House Church Alliance and his wife were back at home in Beijing Friday, October 9, after authorities released them from a "forced vacation" but two other church leaders reportedly remained detained.

Alliance president and evangelist Pastor Zhang Mingxuan, also known as Pastor "Bike", and his wife were freed "from their forced vacation in Henan” Sunday, October 4, "and returned home to Beijing," said advocacy group China Aid Association (CAA).

"The authorities are still holding his cell phone, and promise to return it on October 8, when the National Day celebrations officially end," CAA said.

They were detained and several house churches dismantled ahead of the 60th anniversary of Communist Party rule in China, Christians said. "Pastor Bike and his wife were unharmed during the vacation, and treated fairly well. They are thankful for the prayers of the international community," CAA told BosNewsLife in a statement.

"The government reportedly showed him they spent a total of nearly 10,000 yuan ($1,500) on his forced stay; Pastor Bike and his wife wish the money would have been put toward impoverished children's education," the group said.

MORE DETENTIONS

Other well-known pastors Pastors Hua Huiqi and Zhang Mingxuan were also sent on forced vacations and apparently remained detained Friday, October 9, by local Public Security Bureaus, China's main enforcement agencies.

Pastor Hua was however allowed to see his dying brother Hua Huilin, CAA said. "At 11:00 PM (Beijing time) on September 22, five Public Security officials escorted Pastor Hua Huiqi to Beijing Tiantan Hospital for his final visit with his dying brother," the group said.

"The Hua Family's request for Pastor Hua to visit his brother had been previously denied. Under the eyes of the guards, Hua was ordered not to speak to anyone, and was allowed only a few brief moments with Hua Huilin in that late hour."

Hua's sister-in-law apparently also requested he be allowed to visit his Christian ailing mother, Shuang Shuying, who was released from prison two months ago, but her request was also denied, Christians said

WIFE'S VISIT

On September 27 he was briefly allowed to see his wife. She reportedly said her husband is “in good condition. He has begun a time of prayer and fasting during his detention.”

Authorities have not commented on the latest developments, but Chinese Communist officials have denied wrongdoing.

They say Christians are free to worship within the government controlled churches, however Christians say many believers prefer to gather outside the reach of Communist officials.

Officials and Christian sources say there may be as man as 130 million Christians in China, one of the fastest growing Christian communities in the world.

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