House Church Raided in Xinjiang, China

( [email protected] ) Aug 06, 2007 06:34 AM EDT

Chinese security forces raided a house church in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region in northwest China, detaining individuals and prosecuting their families, according to a persecution watchdog.

The owner of the house, Gao Hongzhi, was detained – according to the China Aid Association, which has close ties to house churches in China.

10 security officials reportedly searched the premises without producing search warrants – confiscating Bibles, calendars and a black board.

The house church members were videotaped and forced to sign a document that allowed local authorities permission to punish the detainees’ family members.

Details of the secret document was leaked to China Aid, which revealed that the provincial government could hold relatives of believers responsible if the latter was “found to be in a gathering, sharing gospel materials, [holding] Bible studies.”

According to the document, such individuals were expected to prevent their Christian relatives from gathering, share religious literature and establishing ties with unregistered house churches.

The Texas-based organization announced that Gao’s son was dismissed from his job while two party secretaries were fined for “failing to supervise the Christians well.”

Gao was released 12 hours in captivity, alongside fellow believers. A member of Gao’s house church was reportedly beaten during detention.