Tuesday, June 27, 2006

In the Teeth of the Dragon

The Khaleej Times Online reports:

China detained nearly 2,000 underground Christians over the past year, a US-based Christian rights group said on Tuesday.

According to the China Aid Association, 1,958 Chinese underground church pastors and worshippers in 15 provinces were detained between May 2005 and May 2006.

The group said in a statement that police and religious affairs officials displayed hostile attitudes at many Christian gatherings, mistreating and torturing believers during raids on such meetings.

Underground churches are for people worshipping outside state-sanctioned churches which are administered by the government and the ruling Communist Party.

The rights group said the central province of Henan witnessed the most persecution, with 823 pastors and believers rounded up in 11 raids from July 2005 to May 2006. Five American citizens were also arrested during that period.

Many Christians were abused during detention: two women aged 72 and 21 were forced to take off their clothes during interrogation and a disabled pastor, Li Gongshe, was severely beaten, it said.

The statement did not say how long the Christians were detained. But in another statement earlier this year, the group said most were released after they had been interrogated for periods ranging from 24 hours to several months.

Let us remember with our prayers
our brothers and sisters in China.

You can read more about the ongoing persecution of Christians here.

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