MIDLAND, TEXAS – The China Aid Association (CAA) has learned that less than two weeks before Christmas, 29 house church leaders were arrested in Henan on December 12, 2005.
According to eyewitness reports, at 3pm on December 12 (Beijing Time), 40 police officers with 8 police vehicles raided a house church leadership meeting at Xiapigang Village, Dungang Town, Xincai County, Henan Province. 100 major church leaders from Henan and Anhui Provinces were gathered at a believer's house, discussing how the house churches can effectively help a large group of peasants who had contracted AIDS.
That area is internationally known as “the AIDS Disaster Area” because many peasants became infected when they sold their blood to local blood centers that were contaminated with the AIDS virus.
According to a reliable report, at 7:30pm, 29 leaders were arrested. Their private property was confiscated without receipts including three motor bicycles, one cell phone, and all of their luggage as well as winter blankets. According to one pastor who was at the raided meeting, the police officers showed a search warrant and stated the meeting was an “illegal religious gathering.”
Pastor Shen Yiping, the founder of internationally known House Church group called China Gospel Fellowship and the host of the meeting Mr. Yang Huamin, were among those arrested.
Attorney Mr. Zhang Xingshui, the director of Beijing Jingding Law Firm has agreed to be their legal representative.
CAA also learned the beaten Christian businessman Mr. Tong Qimiao filed a civil claim with a local court in Xinjiang. Mr. Tong was severely beaten and suffered a broken rib by an agent from Xinjiang State Security Bureau on September 28, 2005. He was interrogated for his relationship with a house church in that area.
Because Mr. Tong took legal action against his torturers, his furniture factory and store in a local mall was ordered to closed and many pieces of furniture were confiscated on October 13 and 14 respectively by the local authority.
CAA condemns the arrest of these innocent church leaders and urges the Chinese authority to release them immediately. People of faith should write to the Chinese authority to demand their release.
More information: www.ChinaAid.org