Reuters
April 10, 2011

Dozens of Christians who planned to hold an outdoor service in Beijing in protest at being made “homeless” from their place of worship have been arrested, in the latest Communist party crackdown on dissent and demonstrations.

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Police cordoned off the walkway where a mobile phone text message had said the service would happen. Officers and plainclothes guards took away dozens of people; it was unclear how many were church members, supporters or bystanders.

The Shouwang church, a Protestant group with about 1,000 members, claims official pressure forced it out of a place of worship it had been renting.

Bob Fu, of the China Aid Association, a US-based group critical of China’s controls on religion, said police had told one church elder the planned service would be an “illegal gathering”.

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