China House Church Leaders "Likely" In Labor Camp

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

By BosNewsLife News Center

BEIJING, CHINA (BosNewsLife) -- There were fears Tuesday, July 25, that four key leaders of a house church movement in China's central-western province of Sichuan were sent to a hard labor camp following their detention late last month.

A group with close ties to the detained leaders, China Aid Association (CAA), told BosNewsLife that Pastors Li Ming, Wang Yuan, Li Mingbo and Jin Jirong were supervising the growing Chinese House Church Alliance, which comprises many house churches.

In a separate development, 10 other house church believers in Hubei province received "formal administrative detention from 10 to 15 days respectively," CAA said.

The organization said the four pastors were detained June 27 after they went to a local police station to try to free 14 believers who were allegedly taken there while having a Christian worship service early that morning. Half of the believers were eventually detained for five days, the group explained.


Because of their actions to free the believers, the four pastors were soon detained, CAA said. "They didn’t receive a detention notice until July 16 which is a direct violation of the relevant Chinese law which states the detainee should be notified within 24 hours of the detention," the group added.

They were expected to be sentenced “to re-education through labor which means they usually have to work up to 12 to 18 hours a day for three years in a labor camp,” CAA stressed.

The group suggested they were likely already deported to a labor camp, after they were allegedly tortured while in police detention.


The group quoted eyewitnesses as saying that on June 27, Pastors Li Ming, Wang Yuan, Li Mingbo and Jin Jirong were attacked while talking to police officers at the Langzhong Police station.

66-year-old Jin Jirong "was beaten and his ankle was injured. Li Ming requested police to send Jin Jirong to the hospital for treatment, but the policemen refused and required the Christians to send Jin to hospital instead,” unidentified witnesses reportedly said.

As police cars arrived outside the police station someone shouted, "Who is Li Ming?," CAA said, citing the eyewitnesses. After Li Ming answered, "I am," three policemen “pounced at him, beat and kicked him violently, then dragged him out the door, threw him to the ground and beat him," the group added.


"The witnesses present said they only heard Li Ming crying: “You are killing me!” The police immediately choked Li to silence him, then pushed him into a police car and sent him to the First Detention House of Langzhong."

When pastor Jin Jirong tried to stop the police from taking Li Ming, “one policeman swung his fists to hit Jin’s head and shoulder. Three policemen beat Jin in turn, and then dragged him into a car and sent him to the First Detention House of Langzhong,” CAA claimed.

Witnesses were also quoted as saying that Wang Yuan was also attacked by three policemen. "They beat him [and] when Wang cried out, they choked him to silence him, then threw him on the ground. They continued to beat him until he couldn’t move. Then, they dropped Wang Yuan in a vehicle and when he arrived at the Public Security Bureau, he could not stop vomiting," eyewitnesses were quoted as saying.


Wang Yuan asked police to send him to the hospital, but was allegedly told that he was just "pretending" to be hurt. "At last he was sent to the First Detention House of Langzhong instead of the hospital," CAA said.

The report could not immediately be verified, but CAA is known to have close contacts with house churches. China's government has denied human rights abuses saying Christians are free to worship in the official denominations.

CAA said it has learned that the feared Public Security Bureau of Langzhong will hold a citywide "Cultural-Revolutionary-style-thousand-men" conference criticizing Li Ming, Wang Yuan, Li Mingbo and Jin Jirong, the leaders of the house church of Langzhong.


At the conference, they would announce "criminal detention, reeducation through labor or arrest against the four." CAA also learned that 10 believers in Hubei province received 10 to 15 days administrative detention after they were detained in July 21.

The raid and arrests reportedly happened when 43 Christians were having their fellowship meeting at a family in Shen Fan village of Hubei province. "Police also confiscated at least five mobile phones, an unknown amount of cash still in the tether box, and all the Christian books at the site," CAA claimed.

The Christians who were taken to the Public Security Bureau in Anlu City were identified as men Chen Zhongxin, 48, and Gong Quan, 53, who were sentenced to 15 days of detention and received fines of 1000 yuan. Eight Christians receiving 10 days of detention were women Luo Shishu, 48, Zhang Jianfang, 51, Hu yuzhen, 43, and men Sun Yaozhou, 33, Fang Aiwen, 27, He Guiwan , 49, He Yuhua , 52, and Shi Gane, 47.


In addition three believers, Wu Jianfang, Xiongzaixu, and Zhu Wenfeng, received each 500 yuan in fines. CAA leader and former house church pastor Bob Fu told BosNewsLife that “even facing these illegal detentions and injustice, the Chinese House Church believers are determined to pursue the true religious freedom in the spirit of rule of the law." He said that his group has called for the "immediate release of these innocent Christian leaders."

Most of China's estimated 80 million Christians are believed to worship in 'house churches,' names this way as they are organized in homes of believers. (With BosNewsLife Research and reports from China).

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