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China local police arrest 21 house church leaders, extort money
Some 21 house church leaders were arrested recently, with 15 of them illegally detained, as local police extorted money from their families with false promises for their freedom.
The 21 church leaders were arrested in Wuhai city in Inner Mongolia. The leaders, who hailed from Wuhai and Shizuishan city in Ningxia province, had come together to plan summer activities for their churches.
During the meeting, which took place on July 26, more than 24 policemen from the Domestic Security Protection Department broke into the meeting place and arrested 21 church leaders. They also confiscated everything in the place, including Bibles and bamboo mats.
The 21 leaders were criminally detained on the grounds of “suspicion of using a cult organization to undermine national law enforcement,” according to the China Aid Association’s website.
However, the police did not follow the requirement of informing families of the arrests. Furthermore, the families were not given the legally required documents of their detention.
Physical exams of the 21 detainees were taken which indicated that six of them were exceedingly elderly and unhealthy. When the detainees were transferred to Wuhai detention center, the six elderly were refused detention, and were set free.
It was only after 15 days of detention at the Wuhai prison, that the remaining 15 church leaders’ families were informed by the Public Security Bureau, who said the 15 had been sent to the office of the prosecutor.
The Bureau also told the families that for $7,800, all those arrested could be released. Instead, after the families paid the amount to the prosecutor’s office, the detainees were returned to the Bureau.
The Bureau then told the families that they had to pay thousands of dollars more. Otherwise, they threatened, the church leaders would either be criminally prosecuted or might end up in labor camps.
To date, the 15 are still in the Wuhai jail. The names of those Christian leaders who hail from Wuhai are: Ning Yuncai, Yu Baojie, Mi Lili, Sister Ding, Huang Xiulian, Hao An, Uncle Ye, Dong Zhen, Mu Liandi, Ren Xitao and Mu Guilian.
The names of those Christian leaders from Shizuishan are: Da Yumei, Dong Yanxia, Zhang Shuxia and Zhang Mingfeng.
Bob Fu, founder and president of China Aid Association, slammed the local police on the CAA website and urged them to “immediately and with no preconditions release these innocent Christian believers.”
Fu said on the CAA website, “The church will not retreat in the face of persecution. In fact, it will grow larger and stronger with each passing day.”