Chinese authorities arrested 100 Christian young people as part of the government’s continuing crackdown on churches outside state control.
The Christians had been meeting for a Bible study in Langfang City, Hebei province, when police abruptly arrived and arrested everyone present, according to the U.S.-based monitor Voice of the Martyrs, or VOM.
The young people, in the sixth through twelfth grade, were taken into custody, interrogated and released.
The students were told to stop meeting together with other Christians and not attend unregistered religious activities, VOM said.
All Protestant and Catholic churches in China are required to be under control of the government, and groups that do not register – the vast majority – are included in the list of “illegal cults.”
In a separate incident, 10 pastors were arrested during a baptism service in Sui County, Hunan province, on July 1, according to VOM.
The Christians had gathered to baptize 60 new believers in a service led by Pastor Wan Bao De.
Ten church leaders were arrested at the scene and given 15 days of “administrative detention.”
The pastors were released July 15 and forced to pay a fine of 200 to 300 Yuan, about $25 to $36. But police officers refused to provide a receipt for the money.
“If you are unhappy (about not getting a receipt),” police said, “you can take us to court.”
Wan Bao De was first arrested April 25, 1999. He was beaten severely by Public Security Bureau officers at the time of that arrest, and was fined 2000 Yuan, about $250, before eventually being released.
VOM says the arrests are part of widespread persecution across China, which seems to have intensified in recent months.