Church group says police detained Taiwanese pastor on China visit

Nov 09, 2015, 06:15 AM

BEIJING (AP) — A Taiwanese pastor was detained for 15 days by Chinese police after visiting an unauthorized Christian church congregation in central China, the pastor of the Chinese church group said Monday.

Li Jia'en, who leads the church group in the central Chinese city of Luoyang, said Shen Zhenguo had returned to Taiwan after being released on Oct. 29. Li himself also was detained for the same length of time on the charge of holding an illegal religious gathering.

Luoyang police declined to confirm the case over the phone, and the local government propaganda official said he was unaware of the matter.

Congregations that refuse to pledge loyalty to China's ruling Communist Party are banned under Chinese law.

Shen visited the underground congregation on Oct. 13, when police raided their meeting place, Li said.

"We were told it was because we received a Taiwanese pastor," Li said.

Although the congregation had been harassed in the past, it was the first time he and other church members were detained, Li said.

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