China crackdown renewed
ChinaAid reports that from the end of September to early November 2008, a large police force was dispatched to raid house gatherings in Beijing and in areas near college campuses in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province.
More than 400 Christian college students were arrested and interrogated. House church leaders who led the gatherings were detained, and four were sentenced to re-education through labour for one to one and a half years.
House church members were accused of ‘preaching to students’ and ‘engaging in cult activities’. The house church groups were all affiliated with the local church network founded by Witness Lee (1905-1997).
It is believed that this large-scale suppression against the Christian college students in Beijing and Hangzhou is a part of the government’s efforts to limit citizens’ religious freedom after the Olympic Games.
ChinaAid calls on the relevant agencies in China to stop the harassment of house church Christians, return illegally confiscated funds and personal property, and immediately release the four church leaders who have been sentenced to re-education through labour.