SHAANXI, China, June 19 /Christian Newswire
/ -- Around midnight on June 14, three house church leaders of the Taochuan Village Christian Church were arrested and given 10 days of detention for engaging in "illegal religious activities." Authorities have arrested the Christians as the latest in a series of actions to shut down their house church, and confiscate the church building. The authorities have targeted the church because the Christians have been advocating for justice for peasants in their village. The three arrested leaders are: Sister Liu, Sister Xu and Brother Huang Sumin.
In 2008, government officials, businessmen and village cadres began colluding to confiscate land to make profits on real estate development. Many peasants lost large tracts of land, and as a result, Taochuan village citizens elected 11 representatives to negotiate and protect the rights of the villagers. Some among the 11 representatives were Christians. In order to get rid of Christian representatives, because the Christians "spoke on fair terms," the government officials targeted Taochuan Christian Church, claiming that the Christians were "engaging in illegal religious activities." The church has owned their current building since December 2008, and the approximately 100 members of the church all contributed to purchase it.
From June 2 to June 4, Huang Sumin and other Christians from Taochuan Christian Church were summoned to the town's police station where they were interrogated and warned. On June 5, a public notice from Luonan County Bureau of Religion was posted at the gate of the church, declaring that Taochuan Village Christian Church had been abolished. To avoid the possible conflicts with authorities during the Sunday worship on June 7, the church members decided to worship at 6 a.m. at the gate of the original gathering site. Though the gathering ended shortly past 7 a.m., a dozen or so officials from the County Bureau of Religion and the police station arrived at Taochuan Village around 8 a.m. Brother Huang Sumin and two sisters were taken to the town's police station for interrogation. The rest of the Christians were threatened that they must not gather again or they would face legal liabilities.
At 5 a.m. on June 14, 2009, Taochuan Village Christian Church again worshipped and prayed at the gate of the original gathering site. The gathering ended at 6:45 a.m. At 7 a.m., five to six police officers arrived at the site of the gathering. For the whole afternoon, the officers talked with the Christians to get information. At around midnight, Brother Huang Sumin, Sister Liu and Sister Xu were forcibly taken by police. They stated, "If we have to go, we go. There's nothing serious if we do it for the sake of the Lord."
The next day, the family members and the church learned the news that they had been placed on a 10-day detention. ChinaAid contacts say the three Christians "are strong and brave members in Christ who submit to God and not to man." However, Brother Huang has a serious problem with high blood pressure and often experiences headaches and dizziness. With this condition, the church members are concerned that he may not be able to endure the imprisonment and torture by the police. The authorities had promised to release Brother Huang, but they reneged.
The Christians of Taochuan Church sent a letter to ChinaAid, requesting that Christians around the world would pray for them, "Brother churches of ours, please pray for us and beg the Lord to lead us. If you are willing, please help us seek an answer from the government and the Public Security Bureau."
Contact the following government authorities in Shaanxi and urge them to release Brother Huang Sumin, Sister Liu and Sister Xu immediately and allow Taochuan Church to worship freely.
Luonan Public Security Bureau of Shaanxi:
Main number: +86-0914-7322159
Office phone numbers: +86-0914-7380416；+86-0914-7381381；+86-0914-7326515
Public Security Window of Luonan County Administrative Service Center:
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