Sun, Aug 06, 2006 - Page 4 News List

Chinese authorities bust `illegal' Christian meeting

AFP , BEIJING

About 90 children and 40 underground Christians were detained briefly in eastern China after police raided a Sunday school teacher training session, a rights group and an official said on Friday.

They were taking part in the religious training session in Anhui Province's Tongwei Village on Thursday when 80 police and village officials rushed in and broke up the meeting, the US-based China Aid Association said in a statement.

The children, aged between nine and 16, were released after officials registered their personal information, while all but two adult Christians were set free early on Friday, the rights group said.

Li Lizhong, 40, who provided his home for the meeting, and Cai Yili, 38, were given 15 days of detention, it said.

A staff member at the Gudian township police station confirmed the incident.

Re-education

"They were involved in illegal evangelism ... most have been released after re-education but two are still detained," an officer surnamed Guan said.

"Li Lizhong is always evangelizing illegally at his home so we have to educate him," he said.

China Aid Association said some Christians were beaten in the incident, and police confiscated a number of belongings including a computer, electric organ and loudspeakers.

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