House Church Pastor Detained in Hubei for Religious Study; 15 House Church Leaders Still Detained After Brutal Police Raid in Henan; Prominent Rights Lawyers Intervene
MIDLAND, Texas (Christian Newswire) -- China Aid Association learned one House Church pastor was detained on March 20, 2006 at Hubei Province. Pastor Lian Changnian is now detained at the Detention Center of Xiantao City, Hubei Province. Pastor Lian who is from Xi’an City, Shannxi Province was leading a Bible study of over 100 believers at a House Church at Xiantao City when the raid occurred.
CAA also learned 15 House Church Leaders are still detained, including a 15-year-old female evangelist, following a brutal police raid on a house church leaders’ meeting in Henan Province. Two prominent human rights lawyers in Beijing agree to represent the persecuted church leaders. Sources say the pastors were accused of being “illegal evil cult members” by the authority, however, these pastors are believed to be part of the Henan Fangcheng Mother Church group which is known worldwide as an evangelical House Church group in China.
According to several eyewitness reports, on March 13, about 100 Public Security Officials raided a house church leadership meeting at Wen County, Henan Province. All of the leaders were then taken into custody after the police searched them and confiscated any cash on them. Thirty six were released within 24 hours, three were released on March 18 and six were released on March 20, but fifteen are still detained in various detention centers in different counties. Among the fifteen, the whereabouts of six are still unknown.
According to a CAA investigator who interviewed several of the pastors who were released, the police treated them very brutally. All were beaten with electric shock batons at the police station. One of the leaders, 51-year-old Pastor Li Gongshe, still remains in Room 210, Mengzhou City Chinese Medical Hospital for treatment of a broken rib due to a beating by the police. According to pastor Li, after he showed the police his handicap certificate a policeman, Officer Wang, kept beating him in front of the police chief and the political director. One Christian lady, 21-year-old Ms. Shan Ailing, has left home out of humiliation because she was forced by the police to strip during the interrogation at Wenquan Police Station, Chengguan Town, Wen County, Henan Province.
Among the six missing leaders, CAA learned that 72- year-old Ms. Ma Wenqing (known as Xiaotao) was seen handcuffed and taken away because she hosted the meeting at her house. Her house was searched again by the security officials on March 20, 2006. Her home address is Zhangsi Village, Xiangyun Town, Wen County, Henan Province. The other two are children’s minister, Ms. Zhang Jinzhi (44-years- old) from Dayunlan Village, Xiangyun Town, Wen County, Henan Province; and Pastor Zhang Liang (24- years-old) from Bian Ge Zhuang Village, Bian Ge Zhuang Town, Zhuozhou City, Hebei Province. The other three missing pastors are from Xuzhou City, Jiangsu Province. They are Ms. Zhang Suihong (35- years-old) from Hequan Village, Biantang Town, Jiawang District and Ms. Xian Guirong (38-years-old) from Pingtan Village, Xinglou Town, Pizhou City and Ms. Wei Rongzhen (43-years-old) from Qianshanmiao Village, Gengji Town. Church leaders fear the reason these are still missing maybe because they were beaten so severely that the police are trying to prevent family visits. Meanwhile, two prominent human rights attorneys, Mr. Zhang Xingshui and Dr. Fan Yafeng, have agreed to be the legal representatives in this case. Mr. Zhang Xingshui is the director of Beijing Jingding Law Firm and Dr. Fan Yafeng is a well-known constitutional law scholar at China Academy of Social Sciences. CAA learned that Attorney Zhang is on his way to Henan to meet with church leaders and government officials.
Besides the six missing pastors mentioned above, the following is a list of names and home addresses of the others still in custody:
1. Three detained at Mengzhou City Detention Center, Henan:
Mr. Li De’an of Zhong Village, Chengbo Town, Mengzhou City; Mr. Xu Xuemin of Xiakou Village, Nanzhuang Town Mengzhou City; Ms. Wang Xiaoai of Gou Village, Gao Town, Mengzhou City
2. Five detained at Nanle County Detention Center, Henan:
Pastor Li Huimin (50-years-old) of Wuhuaying Village, Xishao Town, Nanle County; Ms. Li Huimin (23-years-old) of Wuhuaying Village, Xishao Town, Nanle County; Ms. Zheng Liting (24-years-old) of Wulou village, Hanzhang Town, Nanle County; Ms. Yue Jianghui (19-years-old) of Yuecunji Village, Sizhuang Town, Nanle County; and Ms Li Hongmin (15-years-old) of Lipuo Village, Xishao Town, Nanle County;
3. Pastor Fan Zhongyu (60-years-old) of Fanshi Village, Yangshao Town, Qingfeng County is detained at Qingfeng County Detention Center, Henan Province.
(Read the whole story at www.ChinaAid.org)
“This new raid is certainly a contradiction to the Chinese government’s commitment to religious freedom,” said Rev. Bob Fu of CAA, “We urge President Bush to press the Chinese President Hu Jintao on the religious persecution issue when he pays his planned state visit to the White House next month.” CAA urges the Chinese government to immediately release these pastors.
Communicate your concern to the Chinese authority at the following address:
Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong,
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China
2300 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington DC 20008
Fax: 202- 588-0032 ; 202-7457473
Director of Religious Affairs: (202) 328-2512
Premier Wen Jiabao, PRC
PO Box 1741, The State Council, Beijing, PRC (zip code 100017)
Ms. Wu Aiying, minister of Ministry of Justice of PRC
Address:No. 10, Nan Da Jie, Chaoyangmen, Beijing City (Zip Code: 100020)
Issued by CAA on March 21, 2006