U.S. condemns beating of sons of Chinese priest
The United States strongly condemned on Thursday the "brutal beating" of two sons of a detained Beijing priest and voiced concern over what it said was a pattern of intimidation of religious leaders in China, reported Reuters.
State Department spokesman Robert Wood said Beijing-based pastor Zhang Mingxuan, president of the China House Church Alliance, had been detained and his two sons beaten up this month by public security officials.
"We are gravely concerned by the brutal beating of Pastor Zhang "Bike" Mingxuan's two sons by public security officials," said Wood, who did not provide details of the beatings.
"We are also deeply concerned by the continuing official harassment of Pastor Zhang, a prominent Beijing house church leader, including his arbitrary detention and the forced relocation of his family," he said.
Wood urged the government of China to immediately release Zhang, allow his relatives to return home and to condemn "violent acts" committed against his sons and bring to justice those responsible for the beatings.
China has about 40 million active Christians with their numbers evenly divided between state-run and underground churches, including those held in people's homes.