A U.S. ministry is demanding that Chinese officials return hundreds of Bibles confiscated from them at an airport.
Members of the Christian group Vision Beyond Borders arrived in Kunming, Sunday, to distribute Bibles in the area. But the team was met by customs officials who seized more than 300 Bibles from their luggage, claiming they were "illegal religious literature."
"I heard that there's freedom of religion in China, so why is there a problem for us to bring Bibles?" questioned Pat Klein, the group's leader.
Click the play button for a CBN News phone interview with Pat Klein.
The Wyoming-based organization passes out Bibles and other religious materials worldwide. Klein, along with two men and a 15-year-old, had planned to distribute Chinese-language Bibles during the Olympics.
Now, Klein says the four of them will stay in Kunming International Airport until agents return their Bibles. They've already spent one night in the customs area.
"We don't want to go without taking those books. It cost us a lot of money to bring them here," he said.
Speaking to CBN News, Klein said, "We've been bringing (Bibles) in for years and we've just seen a real crackdown in the last several months. (It's) almost like a defiance in the customs people, almost like they are a law unto themselves."
"The Chinese leaders keep telling the world the Chinese people have religious freedom. To even prevent them from receiving Bibles certainly contradicts that claim," he told China Aid Association.
Chinese officials claim the group violated a 1997 law that says foreigners can bring only their personal religious literature into the country. They were shown documents of the regulations authorities said they violated, but the papers were in Chinese.
"We are waiting for them to come back with the law in English," Klein said.
China's Christians have faced extensive persecution, especially during the Beijing Olympics.
The Congressional Human Rights Caucus says the Chinese government has raided several house churches and even beaten pastors. Numerous activists have also been jailed and detained this month.
Sources: CBN News, Associated Press, Christian Today