12/12/2006, 00.00
CHINA
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Christians tortured in Xinjiang, Anhui church forcibly shut down

Arbitrarily arrested, four Christians were detained and tortured for 32 days. The Anhui Religious Affair Bureau shut down a house church set up 53 years ago.

Qingshuihe (AsiaNews) – After 32 days in prison, four unofficial Christians from northern Xinjiang province were released on 26 November. They were tortured by prison guards and by convicts sharing their cells throughout their detention.

On the same day, the Religious Affair Bureau forcibly shut down a house church in Anhui that had been set up 53 years ago by the charismatic pastor Wang. Further, the bureau threatened around 200 Christians who used to attend the church with “serious repercussions” if they did not accept to be subject to the government-approved Movement of the Three Autonomies (MTA).

This was denounced by China Aid Association (CAA), a US-based non-governmental organisation that lobbies for religious freedom in China.

The CAA said that “without giving any reasons for their arrest or release”, the authorities of northern Xinjiang province freed all the Christians who had been arrested last month in Qingshuihe in the eastern part of the province.

Four detainees were imprisoned for 32 days without charge and now they are in hospital.

One told how he was “tortured every day. The guards beat me if I ate the food or did not eat the food, ate too much or too little, went to the toilet or did not go to the toilet! They just beat me for no reason.”

Another, Tan, said he was put in the same cell as homosexual convicts. “The guards put me there on purpose. I was humiliated physically and psychologically. I would not come out alive if I had been with them any longer.”

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