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Christian Today: Church closed and five pastors detained in China over 'cult activities'

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Christian Today
Carey Lodge Christian Today Journalist 18 November 2015

Five church leaders have been detained in China over accusations that they are leading a cult.

Government officials raided the 71st Street Christian Church in Luoyang, Henan province, during a five-day Bible training session.

More than 70 church leaders were taking part, five of whom were detained for 15 days by Xigong County Police, China Aid reports.
Christianity is experiencing monumental growth in China.

The five have been identified as Shen and Li Jianghua from Taiwan, 71st Street Church's pastor Li Jia'en, a Shanxi pastor, Ms Li Jiangtao, and a Henan pastor, Liang Jing. They are accused of "using a cult organisation to undermine law enforcement".

A penalty notice read: "According to the facts of your violations, the characteristics, circumstances, and degree to which they harm society and other related truths, your law-violating actions are severe."

The church has been ordered to cease all its activities, and further meetings have been banned. Pastor Li Jia'en told China Aid that the church must now continue to pay rent on its building, but cannot use it.

"The shops nearby were all given public security cards, telling them to call authorities if they catch us meeting," he added.

China is believed to be cracking down on Christianity in response to its momentous growth in the country. Up to 1,700 churches have been demolished or had their crosses removed in Zhejiang province, which lies one state to the east of Henan. Activists believe that Zhejiang is being used by the government as a test-ground, and fear that anti-Christian measures may soon be rolled out in other provinces.

The latest incident in Henan follows the news that a conference on the growth of Christianity is being held by the Chinese government this week.

China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
Email: r.ritchie@chinaaid.org
Website: www.chinaaid.org