Arrested Church Leaders Released Under International Pressure

The China Aid Association learned that as of October 21, 2005 at 7:30am, following more than 25 hours of house arrest, all of the nearly 50 arrested house church leaders were released.
According to a reliable source from a high-level government agency, the release was ordered from the Chinese central government because of increasing international pressure on this case. After CAA’s press release on October 20, one of Congressman Chris Smith’s aids at the House International Relations Committee contacted the State Department to urge them to take action to obtain the release of these church leaders.
A digital camera, a cell phone and some cash were confiscated without receipt by the police there. All of the leaders were forced to sign their names, ID numbers and were figure printed. According Ms. Dai Hong, a 35-year-old law school graduate, she was taken to a single room on the second floor and beaten by two male policemen just because she demanded to see their police IDs before she provided her ID. This request is in accordance with Chinese law. The nearly 60 PSB/Religious Affairs Bureau officials and their hired local guards (some younger than 18-years-old) along with approximately 30 police vehicles left the site with obvious reluctance this morning.
The arrested pastors said farewell to the guards with worship music. Pastor Zhang Mingxuan was the last one released, by the State Administration of Religious Affairs from Beijing, at 7:30 am after a 28-hour interrogation in a hotel. Throughout his interrogation, Pastor Zhang vigorously shared his faith with his interrogators. One tired interrogator was quoted as saying to Pastor Zhang, “Man, you preach too hard!”
“The relatively quick release of these church leaders is certainly a welcomed step in the right direction.” says Bob Fu, the President of China Aid Association. “The arbitrarily arrest of innocent citizens and illegal detention are contradictory to international human rights norms. Those officials who abuse its power by beating innocent people should be held accountable.”
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