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Chinese Government Launches Attacks Against Christians During Christmas Season

Contact: Katherine Cason, 267-210-8278, Katherine@ChinaAid.org; Washington, D.C.: Jenny McCloy, 202-213-0506, Jenny@ChinaAid.org; both with China Aid Association www.ChinaAid.org, www.MonitorChina.org

CHINA, Dec. 25 /Christian Newswire/ -- The Chinese government targeted Christians in Anhui province, Henan province and Xinjiang Autonomous Region between December 21 and December 24. On Christmas Eve in Henan province, nine Christian women were arrested during a nativity play and are still being held by police. In Anhui province on December 22, officials arrested 19 students and two house church leaders and threatened to demolish their house church building. On December 21 in Xinjiang Autonomous Region, a house church was forbidden to gather and the pastor threatened with arrest.
HENAN - An eyewitness informed ChinaAid that at about 11 a.m. on Christmas Eve, a group of Public Security Bureau (PSB) officers raided a house church Christmas party in Yucheng county, Henan province and detained nine Christian women. The house church Christians were reenacting the nativity on the street, and police charged the women with "organizing illegal religious activities." The nine women, including Mrs. Yue Zengyun who led the group, are currently being held at the Detention Center of Yucheng County. The PSB officers demanded the family members pay a fine in order for the women to be released.
ANHUI - At 5 p.m. on December 22, 2008, officials conducted a joint raid on a Shepherd Fellowship Bible training class affiliated with a house church in Dianlong village, Yanghu township in Dongzhi county. The government offices conducting the raid included: the Domestic Defense Protection Squad Branch of Chizhou Municipal Public Security Bureau of Anhui Province, the Domestic Defense Protection Squad of Dongzhi County Public Security Bureau, the Yanghu Township Police Station and the Dongzhi County Bureau of Religion.
The Bible training class of 19 students was jointly founded by pastors from house churches in several local counties to train young Christians.  More than 10 uniformed police raided the training class and searched its facilities for two hours. Officials showed only their police identification certificates and did not present a search warrant when they searched the rooms. Officers seized two account books and two other books, but did not give the Christians a receipt for the confiscated objects.
At 7 p.m., the 19 students and two house church leaders, Zhu Jianguo and Cheng Donglai, were taken to the Public Security Bureau for investigation where they were forcibly photographed and videotaped. Officials also recorded the Christians' personal information. During the interrogation, the Public Security cadres pounded on the desk to scare the Christians and lectured the students with political propaganda in an effort to force the students to say that the church lured them to participate in the study. At about 10 p.m., the students were released, but the two church leaders were not released until about 12 a.m.
The next day, December 23, 2008, the Public Security Bureau called the church leaders and warned them to send the students home before government officials arrived at the site of the training.  Having  no alternative, the church sent the 19 students home. Later that morning, officials from the Municipal Public Security Bureau, the County Public Security Bureau, Bureau of Religion and the police station returned to the site of the Bible training.  They photographed and videotaped all materials at the site and threatened the church members that anyone touching the materials would be punished. The County Bureau of Religion posted sealing tape to shut off the house church building. Officials then read the seizure decision statement of the government in which they claimed they were notified that Cheng Donglai illegally ran a school, then pronounced the school abolished.  Government officials also announced that they would demolish or sell the building used for the Bible training.
At press time, the incident has not been resolved. Zhu Jianguo and Cheng Donglai, the two church leaders involved in this incident, expect officials to summon them at any time for further investigation.
Contact government officials in Anhui province to let them know of your concern:
Chizhou Municipal Public Security Bureau of Anhui Province: +86- 566-2818024
Dongzhi County Public Security Bureau: +86-566-7011360
Yanghu Township Police Station: +86-566-8311041
XINJIANG - On December 21, a house church in Yili city, Xinjiang Autonomous Region, was banned. Pastor Xie Xianhua, who leads the church, was warned he could face arrest if he continued his house church service. ChinaAid will publish more information on this incident as details are available.
Write to the Chinese Embassy to voice your concern over attacks on Christians in China during the Christmas season:
Chinese Embassy in Washington DC
2201 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W.
Washington D.C. 20007
Tel: (202) 338-6688, (202) 588-9760
Fax: (202) 588-9760