100 church leaders are arrested in China.

By July 21, 2004

China (MNN)–A group of more than 100 house church leaders are under arrest in China after being rounded up for attending an ‘illegal religious meeting’.

The group was meeting in Xinjiang’s Autonomous Region of Western China for a retreat on July 12. They were surrounded by more than 200 military police, Public Security Bureau (PSB) and other officers, who arrived at the scene in 46 police and military vehicles. No arrest warrants or even official identification papers were shown by officers as they carried out the raid.

Thirty of the leaders are still being held by PSB near the retreat center. The rest have been transported back to their home areas and are being held by the local PSB in their respective areas.

Several have been confined in the so-called “Transformation and Study Center” where they will be interrogated and pressured to renounce their faith. If they don’t, they will be formally charged and tried.

Voice of the Martyrs’ Todd Nettleton believes the government persists in their pressure on unregistered churches in an effort to control them. “That presents a natural conflict for those in the leadership of the Communist Party there in China. They’re fine with people being Christians, as long as they’re Communists first, and Christians second. Obviously, as Christians, we’re called to be Christians first, before anything else.”

Nettleton explains the meeting was aimed at training and encouraging Christian workers in China’s western frontier province. That is likely to continue. “There is a great missionary movement within the house churches of China. We can pray that that will continue. We can pray for the safety of those Christian workers who are venturing out in incredible ways to reach people for Christ.”

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