9 Chinese Megachurch Leaders Kidnapped, Says Rights Group

Nine church leaders from the destroyed Fushan Chinese megachurch were kidnapped by local public security officials, according to a rights group on Tuesday.

The leaders from the Fushan Church were traveling to Beijing to seek justice from the central government over the recent destruction of their church by local authorities when they were apprehended and kidnapped, according to ChinaAid Association.

They have not been heard from since Friday.

Moreover, local authorities have confiscated all computers, TVs and other valuables from the church, calling them "illegal materials."

Other church leaders and active members have also been placed under house arrest and are under constant surveillance.

"To have military police occupy a peaceful church is an unprecedented tragic development in 60 years of PRC (People's Republic of China) history, which itself shows the reality of today's situation regarding religious freedom in China," said ChinaAid President Bob Fu, in a statement.

Fu, who was a former Chinese communist party member before becoming a Christian human rights advocate, said the Chinese government has no reason to fear the "peaceful" Chinese church.

He called for the immediate release of the kidnapped church leaders and the restoration of all the church's property.

Two weeks ago, hundreds of people dressed in police suits raided the "Good News Cloth Shoes Factory," which serves as the site for the Fushan Church. The mob used bulldozers to destroy the brick buildings and physically attacked church members sleeping at the construction site of a new church building using bricks and other objects. Over 100 people were injured in various degrees. Some members were unconscious, while others needed blood transfusions or oxygen masks.

The attack on the house church has been described as unprecedented in nature because of the scale of destruction and the brutality of the attack against church members.

ChinaAid says its sources in the government have reported that a notice was sent to all relevant government agencies over the weekend ordering them to prepare to use military force to crack down on churches throughout China in the manner of the recent Xinjiang riot when nearly 200 people died and over 1,000 people were injured.

"We call on the international community to continue protesting the brutal treatment of Christians and the suppression of religious freedom in China," CAA urged.

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