China Aid Association
AP-NC CHINA BANNED CHURCH
Group: Chinese police interrogate 5 Americans with N.C. church
SHANGHAI, China (AP) – Chinese police detained five Americans attached to a North Carolina church in a raid last month on a Christian retreat in the country’s southwest, an overseas church monitoring group reported Thursday.
The Americans were released after five hours of interrogation, along with two Taiwanese and 80 Chinese citizens representing congregations worshipping outside the tightly state-controlled official Protestant church, the China Aid Association said.
The Americans, three of whom are ethnic Chinese, are attached to churches in Greensboro, N.C., the association said. It did not identify them by name because they are still in China.
Interrogators accused the five of being “foreign religious infiltrators,” it said _ not a formal criminal charge, but a reflection of the Communist Party’s fears that outside forces are using burgeoning Christianity to undermine their rule.
About 120 officers took part in the raid on a conference center outside the city of Kunming on the morning of March 23, said the association, based in Midland, Texas.
Calls to the Kunming police spokesman’s office and the city Religious Affairs Bureau rang unanswered Thursday.
Supporters allege widespread official harassment of unofficial churches in China. Religious restrictions are expected to be raised at Chinese President Hu Jintao’s White House meeting Thursday with U.S. President George W. Bush.
China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
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