Church leaders arrested in China

By December 29, 2003

China (MNN) — Voice of the Martyrs reports leaders in China have been arrested in a continuing crackdown by Chinese authorities on the ever-growing house church movement.

The three Christians were arrested in Zhejiang Province for gathering information on the government’s activities, which are clearly aimed at what the government sees as unauthorized Christian activity. VOM says local Christians are only taking advantage of the government’s declared policy of religious freedom. These are Christians who meet in homes to worship God and to proclaim the gospel message.

The three arrested are well-known to Voice of the Martyrs and are a part of the mission’s network or contacts across China.

They are Xu Yonghai, Liu Fenggang, and Zhang Shengqi. Brother Xu and Brother Liu are from Beijing, and have been transported to Hangzhou where they are being held. VOM says It is distressing that under the Chinese legal system they can be held for months before being formally charged or brought to trial. These two men have been arrested many times and have spent time in labour camps for their stand against communist intrusion into their right to religious freedom.

In October Br. Liu went to Zhejiang Province to investigate the arbitrary demolition of about 12 large church buildings. VOM is in possession of photographs of some of the demolition.

Prominent church leaders in Beijing with whom VOM works assure us that these are men of high reputation and sound doctrine.

VOM’s Hong Kong office urges Christians everywhere to pray urgently as the Chinese officials continue arrests and repression of believers in the house churches.

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