BEIJING, April 24 (UPI) -- Leaders of China's independent Shouwang Church said police blocked their plans for Easter Sunday services in Beijing.
An estimated 500 members of the church were prevented from leaving their homes Sunday and another 36 were detained, including the chief pastor, who was said to be under house arrest.
CNN said it tried to send a crew to cover the services, but they were turned away and had their press credentials confiscated by police.
Shouwang Church is one of largest independent "house" churches in China and has repeatedly sparred with government authorities. CNN said police officers told them they were on the scene for "security reasons."
Chief Pastor Jin Tianming told CNN his flock would not be discouraged by the setback. "We will not change our decision to worship as this is a matter of faith," he said.