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China: House Church Christians Detained for bible study and earthquake aid

Posted by Author on May 20, 2008

China Aid Association (CAA), Inc. May 20, 2008-

Guizhou Province- CAA has learned that on March 15, 2008, several house church members were gathered at the home of Wu Yaohua in Erli Village, Xishui County, Guizhou Province, when several police officials disrupted their meeting and ordered the members to stop their activities. The officials confiscated hymn books and leaflets from the house church.

Police officials disrupted the church meeting again on March 29. One of the house church members, Wu Guangqing, began to argue the legality of the gathering by reading to the officials the law and regulations regarding citizen’s rights of Religious freedom. The officials ignored his remarks and confiscated Bibles, flashlights, and the book of law and regulations that Wu had read from.

Two of the church members, Wu Xinquan and Wu Guangqing were summoned to the Erli Police Station. Two more members, Li Shizhen and Zhang Shaolin were taken by force in the afternoon of the same day.

The members were detained and charged with “participation in an evil cult”. Family members of those detained were informed of the charge and told to take legal action if they so desired. Police officials failed to give proper documentation concerning the arrest and detentions. Four house church leaders were detained for 15 days under the charge of “disturbing the social order”. All four were released at 8:30am on May 20.

According to sources the names of those detained are: Wu Guangqing-65 Li Shizhen-53, elementary school teacher Zhang Shaolin-58, and Wu Xinquan-65. Li Shizhen has been arrested several times before, and in 2000 was sentenced to 2 years reeducation through labor. All 4 leaders were forced to pay 1500 Yuan for their meals while in detention. The families of 2 of the leaders were able to help pay the fine, however the other two were not able to afford the penalty. The house church plans on filing an administrative lawsuit against the Erli Police officials for illegal detention.

This case is yet another incident revealing the pretentiousness of this Government’s policy on tolerance and religious freedom. In no way were these church members afforded fair or adequate treatment concerning proper legal procedure which is a constitutional right afforded to all Chinese citizens. CAA and its supporters call for the members of the Erli house church to be adequately and fairly recompensed for the injustices done to them by corrupt Government Officials.

CAA has also learned that Government officials have turned away and also arrested some house church members who have volunteered to help those who have been affected by the recent devastating earthquake in Sichuan Province. These actions are comparable to the recent events in Myanmar, where the ruling Junta refused free aid while thousands of victims suffered without food or shelter. Such biased behavior is a reminder of the irrational prejudice the CPC holds against house church members who want nothing more than to have true religious freedom and help their fellow countrymen in this hour of need. CAA will continue to monitor the situation.

Issued by CAA May 20, 2008: House Church Members Detained in Guizhou Province/ Government Officials arrest volunteer House Church earthquake aid workers

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