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China detains prominent law expert in run-up to major offensive linked to Nobel Prize

Posted by Author on November 24, 2010

China Aid, Nov. 24, 2010-

(Beijing–Nov. 24, 2010) One of China’s foremost legal scholars and advocates of constitutional democracy was detained and interrogated by police in Beijing late Wednesday night in what may be a warning shot in advance of a crackdown planned to coincide with the awarding of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.

Dr. Fan Yafeng, also a leader of an unregistered house church, was forcibly removed from his home at 9:10 p.m. Wednesday Nov. 24 by more than 10 officers of the Haidian District Domestic Security Department and taken to Shuangyushu Police Station, where he was interrogated for several hours about allegedly illegally “engaging in activities under the guise of a social organization.”
This is the fourh time since mid-October that Dr. Fan, who leads the Shengshan Church, has been taken into police custody. He was put under house arrest on Nov. 1, two days after a daylong police detention and interrogation, at the end of which authorities released a statement saying, “All activities and Christian gatherings will be banned at the office of Shengshan Cultural Research Institute and the home of Dr. Fan Yafeng.”

What was particularly despicable about the latest detention is that officers went back to Dr. Fan’s home and took his wife Wu Lingling and their three-year-old son to the same police station for interrogation. Mother and child were held until 1:30 a.m. Nov. 25. The four officers who conducted the interrogation ignored the distress of the sleepy toddler as he lay on the ground, rolling around in agitation and crying loudly.

The interrogation of Dr. Fan, who is also director of the group Christian Human Rights Lawyers of China and a founding member of the Association of Human Rights Attorneys for Chinese Christians, centered mainly on issues related to the Shengshan or Holy Mountain church and the Association of Human Rights Attorneys for Chinese Christians.

While he was detained, authorities confiscated Dr. Fan’s cell phone and the key to his home. He was not released until 2 a.m. After he returned home, Dr. Fan discovered that his home had been ransacked and that someone had been using his computer from 00:05 am to 1:05 am local time, which was when the entire family was in police custody.

Observers of China’s human rights situation are concerned that Dr. Fan could wind up in the same situation as prominent human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who has been missing since April in what is only the latest in a series of official actions against him in the past five years that have included kidnappings, arrest, imprisonment, torture and the forced closure of his legal practice.

In another alarming development, ChinaAid has learned from a reliable source that the Chinese authorities are preparing to launch a crackdown called “Operation Deterrence” to coincide with the awarding of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize on Dec. 10. During the campaign, of unspecified duration, authorities are to arrest and sentence a total of 20 rights defenders.

ChinaAid is deeply shocked by this news, which only further highlights the worsening human rights situation in China.  The Beijing regime is determined to treat the Chinese people and the international community as its enemies. The Chinese authorities have undoubtedly been emboldened by the unprecedented weakness exhibited by the nations of the Western world, which has only encouraged China to continue in its obstinacy, unrepentance and blind confidence in itself. Dec. 10, the day of the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony, could be a watershed day: will the Chinese Communist regime succeed ─ as Hitler’s regime did ─ in making the righteous forces in the world cower in the face of its terrorizing?

Pastor Bob Fu, president and founder of ChinaAid, strongly denounced the Beijing regime for the late-night detention and interrogation of Dr. Fan Yafeng’s entire family, including his completely innocent three-year-old child. He said, “The Beijing regime is taking a great risk in toying with the righteous forces in the world and in treating citizen groups in China as its enemies. On the other hand, the striking silence of and indeed the cowardice exhibited by the righteous forces in the world is very dangerous. Surely there will be a heavy price to pay.”

Fu founded ChinaAid Association in 2002 to draw international attention to China’s gross human rights violations against house church Christians. The organization, based in Midland, Texas, monitors and reports on religious freedom in China, particularly focusing on the fate of believers who belong to banned or unofficial house churches, which have 60 to 80 million members. ChinaAid issues frequent news releases on cases of religious persecution involving Protestant house church congregations, assists victims to assert their right to freedom of conscience and freedom of religious practice in China, and works to promote the rule of law in China.

Fu and ChinaAid have become widely recognized as reliable sources of up-to-date information about religious persecution and the overall human rights situation in China. Fu has testified before many organizations, including the European Parliament, the U.S. House of Representative’s International Relations Committee, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, the Congressional-Executive Commission on China and the U.N. Commission on Human Rights.

China Aid

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