China Detains Christians at Easter Service
At least 30 detained, church member says
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 24, 2011 7:18 AM CDT
Two elderly women are questioned in front of a bus waiting to take away worshippers of a unregistered church who planned to hold Easter service in Beijing Sunday, April 24, 2011.   (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

(Newser) – Chinese police detained at least 30 Christians belonging to an unregistered Beijing church as the congregation gathered today for an Easter service, a church member says. Police stopped the worshippers from the unregistered Shouwang church as they gathered near a public plaza in the city's university district, then bused them to a local police station. The AP saw about a dozen people taken away but a church member says at least 30 were detained.

Shouwang members have been trying to meet at the plaza in Beijing's Haidian district every Sunday since the congregation was evicted from its usual rented place of worship three weeks ago, but they have been detained or put under house arrest each time. While China's Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, Christians are required to worship in churches run by state-controlled organizations. Shouwang members have for years been at odds with Beijing officials over their right to worship. They said in a statement last week that they tried to register with the government in 2006 but were rejected.
 

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