Guangzhou house church leader Li Dexian has been taken into custody, Christian sources said yesterday. Li, 47, was taken away on Tuesday when dozens of police officers raided his 'meeting place' in the outskirts of the city's Huadu district, the sources said. The officers confiscated bibles and other property, including chairs. Police told Li's family he would be held for 15 days for 'illegal preaching'. They would then decide whether to press further charges. Hundreds of Christians flock to Li's 'meeting place' in Huadu's Yongming village every Tuesday. It has become so popular that last summer the authorities issued a circular saying they were prepared to crack down on the church. Sources said police had shaved Li's head but had not beaten him. Along with veteran preacher Samuel Lamb Xiangao, Li is one of Guangzhou's few house church leaders. Although the constitution stipulates that citizens enjoy religious freedom, the Government requires believers to attend officially registered churches. But many Christians prefer to worship in house churches or meeting places. Official figures say there are more than 10 million Christians in China. Religious chiefs have claimed the 'prosperous growth' of the Christian church has invalidated claims of religious prosecution.