Mass arrests of church leaders and American Christians in China.

By April 26, 2007

China
(MNN) — Roughly 30 major house church leaders were arrested when they met with
four American Christians in Xinjiang Province in western China. 

Voice of the Martyrs' Todd Nettleton confirmed the China Aid
Association report and gave us this update: "Some of the Chinese have
already been released: eight of them. Six of them have been given criminal detention for 30 days. The four
Americans, at last report, are being held at a hotel. We're still waiting to
see what's going to happen with them.  My
guess is that they will be put on a plane for home and told not to
return."

The
arrested Americans include a senior pastor and an associate pastor of an American
church. There are reports that the U.S.
Embassy is intervening for this case.

Nettleton
says because this took place in a Muslim region of China, officials are likely to
cover the arrests by indicating they were concerned about this meeting being
used for terrorism.

The
six accused pastors, Xinglan Zhao, Xiurong Huang, Tianlu Yang, Chaoyi Wang, Cuiling Li, and Sijun He, are facing one to three
years re-education through labor. A
couple of years ago, the group was detained for organizing house church
activities.

Nettleton says this crackdown pattern may continue in the
run up to the Beijing Olympics. He says
they're not backing down in support of the church, however. "Pray for
courage and encouragement. When you see
a church leader get arrested, when you think about the possibility of three
years in very difficult conditions in a labor camp, I think it would be easy to
get discouraged. I think we can pray against that and pray for
encouragement."

These are only a few of the thousands of Christians in China risking
their freedom and lives  whose only crime is faith in Jesus Christ. Thankfully, the government has
been responsive at times to international pressure. However, this
responsiveness is sporadic, and too frequently Western governments have been
more obsessed with gaining access into the huge Chinese market than protecting
basic human rights for the people.

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