24 November 1999 (Newsroom)—Chinese authorities released Protestant church leader Li Dexian on Wednesday after 15 days in detention, according to a Hong Kong source close to the 45-year-old evangelist. Three coworkers, Mr. Yung, Ms. Fan, and Ms. Ling, also were released from the Huadu prison near Guangzhou in Guangdong province.

Li had been arrested four times in a period of five weeks for leading a Bible study in Huadu each Tuesday. The gathering is not under the authority of the official Religious Affairs Bureau, an arm of the Communist government, which requires that all religious activity be registered with the state.

Colleagues had speculated that Li might be detained without charge for up to three years under an administrative sanction applied at the discretion of police called "re-education through labor."

The Hong Kong source, who met with Li after his release, said that the church leader was in good spirits. "He fully intends to continue preaching and will have very large meetings in Huadu," the source said. "He says that if they intended to continue harassing him he will continue to hold his meetings."

The Hong Kong source notes that he has documentation of more than 40 well-known Chinese Christian leaders who remain in prison, including Peter Xu, who is due to complete a three-year sentence this month.

Related Elsewhere

See our earlier coverage of Li Dexian's detention, "Chinese Pastor's Detention Extended for 'Showing No Remorse," which appeared last week on ChristianityToday.com.