Security Officials Detain and Release 8 American Pastors and 140 Chinese House Church Leaders Near Harbin

March 7, 2005

Chinese security officers detained 8 Americans and about 140 Chinese house church leaders at a house church training session near Harbin on February 24, according to a March 2 report by the China Aid Association (CAA), a U.S.-based NGO. Public security officers released the Chinese church leaders relatively soon after interrogating and fingerprinting them and confiscating their cash and cell phones. But security officers interrogated the Americans, along with several Koreans and a Taiwan resident, separately for some 13 hours before expelling them from China.

Although the interrogators were said to be relatively well behaved -- perhaps as a result of the intervention of consular officials from the U.S. Consulate General in Shenyang, CAA reports that security officers installed spying devices on laptop computers belonging to the church leaders. The detained Americans include the Rev. Dr. Brad Long, Executive Director of Presbyterian Reformed Ministries International, a North-Carolina based Christian training ministry; and the Rev. John Chang, who recently retired as President of the General Assembly of the Reformed Church in America.