Arrested Chinese believers located; families still not notified

Monday, October 13, 2003

The location where two Chinese house-church Christians are being held has been revealed by a Voice of the Martyrs source within the Chinese government.

Mr. Xiao Bi-guang and Mr. Zhang Yi-nan are currently incarcerated at the Detention Center of Lushan County in Henan Province. Zhang's wife, Ding Guizhen, arrested two days after her husband, is also being held at the facility.

The VOM source said local officials have not been permitted to question the prisoners or to handle the case, which is being directed from the provincial Public Security Bureau headquarters and by the Bureau of State Security, the Chinese equivalent of the CIA.

"It is clear the Chinese government believes these are 'big fish' in the house-church movement," said Todd Nettleton, VOM's Director of News Services. "The orders on this case are coming direct from Beijing and the national PSB leadership."

Xiao's wife, Gou Qinghui, has received no official notification of her husband's arrest or location, although Chinese law says family members are to be notified within 24 hours after an arrest. She was informed by VOM contacts of her husband's whereabouts. She is seeking to hire lawyers to request a formal inquiry into the case, and plans to travel to Henan province soon to attempt to see her husband.

Zhang Yi-nan reportedly has been fasting and praying since his arrest on September 26, and Chinese sources say he is spiritually very strong. He is a writer and house-church historian who has had a great influence across the Chinese church.

"This a man who has met with literally thousands of Chinese Christians who have spent time in prison. He knows all of the PSB tactics, and knows what he's up against," said Nettleton. "We need to stand with him through our prayers during this time of testing."

VOM has learned the phone number of the PSB office that oversees the Detention Center of Lushan County, and encourages American Christians--especially those that speak Chinese--to call on behalf of these Christians. The number of the office, when dialed from the US, is 011-86-375-5071209.

In addition, a polite call or letter of protest to the Chinese embassy could make a difference in how these believers are treated. The embassy contact information is: Ambassador Yang Jiechi
Embassy of the People's Republic of China
2300 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington DC 20008
Tel:(202) 328-2500 Fax:(202) 588-0032
Director of Religious Affairs: (202) 328-2512