Chinese House Church Leaders Arrested on Christmas

A dozen house church leaders were arrested on Christmas in a northwest province in China.

A dozen house church leaders were arrested on Christmas in a northwest province in China.

In Xinjiang Province – China’s largest province, making up one-sixth of China’s total territory – 12 house church leaders were arrested around 10:30 a.m. (Beijing time) on Dec. 25 by 200 police officers and officials from the Religious Affairs Bureau with 17 police vehicles, according to the China Aid Association (CAA).

The police raided the house church during its Christmas service in a rented commercial facility in downtown Ma Na Si County, Xinjiang Autonomous Region. About 210 Christian believers and their leaders were gathered for the Christmas celebrations.

According to an eyewitness account, 12 leaders were arrested by 11 a.m. and private property was confiscated with no receipts issued, reported the CAA. The items included one rented minivan, one Buick car, one piano, one video camera, 80 Bibles, and 230 pieces of new towels. Moreover, the police also took all the Christmas food.

A female pastor who was present at the event said the police officers presented a search warrant and stated the meeting was an “illegal religious gathering,” according to the CAA.

However, by 12 a.m. the next day, 7 of the arrested leaders were released and the other 5 still remain in custody.

The names of the five leaders remaining are: Pastor Guo Xianyao, 54; Ms. Lu Jianzhen, 47; Ms. Wu Haifang, 28; Ms. Wang Ximei, 54; and Ms. Zhou Bin, 50.

An eyewitness account reports that Pastor Guo Xianyao was being beaten by the police, the CAA noted.

The leaders are currently being held at Ma Na Si County Detention Center where they were all forced to pay fine and finger printed.

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