October 2, 2003 (Voice of the Martyrs) -- Mr. Xiao Bi-guang and Mr. Zhang Yi-nan were arrested last Friday morning in Ping Ding Shan city, Henan Province, China. Sources in China reported that more than 20 Public Security Bureau (PSB) officers made the arrest. The location where the two men are being held is unknown at this time. Their families have received no official notification, in violation of Chinese law which says the family of arrested persons will be notified of their location within 24 hours after arrest.
Mrs. Ding Guizhen, the wife of Zhang, was arrested Sunday. Ding was a doctor at a local hospital in Ping Ding Shan, and was arrested at her place of work. She is currently being held at the Jiang He Chang PSB Office in that city.
Officers also searched the home of Zhang and Ding, confiscating computers, books and other possessions.
Xiao is an active member of a Beijing house church who spent three years from 1994-97 in a "re-education through labor" camp for providing "spiritual aid" for an independent labor union. He is a graduate of Beijing University Law School, and was a lecturer there until his house church involvement became known to authorities. He has served as a part of the legal team representing leaders of the South China Church, a group that has been labeled an "evil cult" by the Chinese government. The SCC's leader, Pastor Gong Shengliang, is currently serving a life sentence in Hong Shan Prison in Hubei Province, and is reportedly in very poor health.
Xiao's wife, Mrs. Gou Qinghui, was a teacher of theology at the Beijing Theological Seminary (run by the state-approved Three-Self Patriotic Movement). She was dismissed from her post when it was learned she was also involved in the unregistered house church movement.
Zhang is a prolific writer and a church historian for China's underground churches. He was one of the chief writers involved in the Unity Movement, which encompasses four major house church groups in China. Zhang was one of the writers of the movement's first Joint Confession of Faith and the United Appeal to the Three Self Patriotic Movement and Chinese Government in 1998.
The Voice of the Martyrs is calling on the Chinese government to release these Christians immediately.
"The Chinese are celebrating their nation's founding today and in the week to come," said Todd Nettleton, VOM spokesman. "But these arrests clearly show that the People's Republic isn't for all the people. Christians who put their loyalty to God ahead of their loyalty to the Communist Party are not welcome in China."
American Christians are encouraged to send a polite letter of protest on behalf of these Christians to the Chinese embassy:
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