Nearly 50 House Church Leaders Arrested in Hebei; Some Beaten
The China Aid Association has learned that on Oct. 20 nearly 50 house church leaders were arrested, while attending a retreat in Gougezhuang Village, Laishui County, Hebei Province. According to an eyewitness report, these leaders from independent house churches came from over 20 provinces. The retreat was planned to discuss how best to help the poor, the orphaned, and the floating population in urban areas.
Arrests were made at 4:00 pm by the officers of the Public Security Bureau of the City of Baoding and officials of religious affairs of that city. In the incident Ms. Dai Hong, one of the church leaders, was beaten by an officer named Tang, whose badge number is either 042824 or 042829.
Among those arrested is a famous evangelist, pastor Zhang Mingxuan (pastor Zhang is the one in the middle of the posted photo), who, along with two other Christians, once ran a nursing home in Beijing. He was previously detained prior to President Bush’s trip to China in February 2002.
“It is no coincident that this kind of incident should happen again before President Bush’s upcoming visit to China next month.” says Bob Fu, the President of China Aid Association. “The Chinese government is systematically targeting the house church movement in China. We urge the international community and President Bush to pressure the Chinese government to protect freedom of religion and other human rights.” President Bush is expected to visit Beijing on November 19th of this year.