49 detained in raid on China underground church

BEIJING—An advocacy group and local official say Chinese police have detained 49 leaders of the underground Protestant church in a central province.

The U.S.-based China Aid Association says all three floors of a church building were searched and property seized during Tuesday’s raid on a religious education seminar.

An official with the Weishi county religious affairs bureau in Henan province where the raid took place confirmed Wednesday the detentions but gave no details. Like many Chinese officials, he gave only his surname, Sun.

China requires all religious groups to accept Communist Party oversight. This month, a U.S. commission listed China as one of the worst violators of religious freedoms. Beijing hostly denies the charge.

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