The congregants sang hymns and said prayers as police loaded them onto waiting buses in Beijing's western Haidian district, the US-based Christian rights group China Aid said in a statement on Sunday, citing witnesses.
"The Beijing authorities have again demonstrated their total disregard of their citizens' constitutionally guaranteed fundamental right to religious freedom," China Aid founder and president Bob Fu said in the statement.
Shouwang church pastor Yuan Ling said by telephone that he was unable to go to the venue because police had put him under house arrest on Saturday night. Yuan said he knew of at least six other church members who were also under house arrest.
Police declined to comment when contacted by AFP news agency and requested written questions be sent to them by fax.
A church member who went to the gathering venue for services and managed to evade police told The Associated Press news agency that about 200 people were taken away and were being held at a local school.
The man, who would give only his English name, Kane, for fear of police reprisals, said their cellphones were also confiscated.
Beijing police halt unapproved church service, detain dozens of worshippershttp://www.washingtonpost.com/world/beijing_police_halt_house_church_service_detain_dozens_of_worshippers/2011/04/10/AFSVolBD_story.html?wprss=rss_world
Chinese authorities have been on high alert for large public gatherings in the wake of anonymous online calls for anti-government protests modeled on demonstrations in the Middle East and North Africa.
No major protests have occurred in China following the calls, but the security crackdown they sparked has resulted in the arrest or detention of dozens of public interest lawyers, writers, intellectuals and activists.
China’s Communist government allows worship only in state-approved churches, but many Christians belong to unregistered congregations. Such “house churches” are subjected to varying degrees of harassment by authorities.
More than 60 million Christians are believed to worship in China’s independent churches, compared with about 20 million who worship in the state church, according to scholars and church activists.