Radio Free China

Human Rights and Religious Freedom News

Update on those Arrested at Church Demolition in Xioshan District

Posted by radiofreechina on October 25, 2006

Prosecution of 6 Zhejiang Christian Leaders Arrested in 7/29/06 Church Demolition Event Postponed Due to Insufficient Evidence
Case Sent Back To Public Security Bureau For More Evidence

By Michael Ireland
Special Correspondent, ASSIST News Service
MIDLAND, TEXAS / ZHEJIANG PROVINCE, CHINA (ANS) — The local prosecutor in Xiaoshan district, Hangzhou city, Zhejiang province of China has decided not to prosecute the 6 Church leaders involved in a clash with authorities during the demolition of church property in July. However, six believers are still being held by local authorities. 

Pastor Wang Weling’s wife and mother await news of his situation. The Chinese pastor was one of six believers still being held by Chinese authorites.

China Aid Association (CAA) has learned the case has been returned to the local Public Security Bureau to gather more evidence. Family members of the indicted pastors were notified this decision on October 16, 2006.

According to information acquired by CAA, at the time of the event the church leaders implored the military police to postpone entering the construction site, and at the same time urged the Christians to leave quickly.

CAA says: “The potential large-scale clash was actually avoided on the spot. The local people’s prosecutor might find the charge of incitement to resist law-enforcement is not tenable. So the case was returned to the local PSB to gather more evidence.”

According to an expert legal analyst, the most optimistic prospect is that the case will be thrown out for lack of sufficient evidence, CAA explains.

In its report, CAA states: “It is well known that the local PSB began investigating an old case that was settled 3 years ago, known as the 8/22/04 event for short.

“In 2004, Xiaoshan churches held a series of open-air Gospel meetings to evangelize the nomadic workers in Xiaoshan. As the attendance increased vehemently, the local PSB intervened. On August 22, 2004 the police intercepted and arrested some Christians on their way to the meeting site. The issue was peacefully settled with an agreement between the local PSB and the church that stated that the PSB would stop the investigating if the church stopped holding similar activities and the negotiation was videotaped as a proof.”

CAA says the possibility still exists that the local PSB is investigating the legal responsibility of the church leaders in the 8/22/04 open air Gospel meeting event, because most of the church leaders were involved in both the 2004 and 2006 cases.

The 6 church leaders are all prestigious Christians in Xiaoshan, Rev. Bob Fu, the president of CAA said.

“They are absolutely law-binding and peaceful people of faith and we urge the Zhejiang authority to honor the rule of law and the spirit of religious freedom and to release them immediately,” Fu commented.

Bob Fu also expressed concern that some individuals in the Xiaoshan PSB broke the agreement made with the church in 2004. He said the local government authority will lose their credibility in the eyes of thousands of religious believers in the long run.

 

The 6 church members still imprisoned are:

Sister Shen Zhuke (52-year-old)
Brother Shen Chengyi (76-year-old)
Brother Ni Weimin (45-year-old)
Brother Wang Weiliang
Brother Guo Lijun

Telephone numbers of the leaders in charge of the departments involved in the persecution in Xiaoshan are as follows:

The deputy Public Security Bureau head: Xuan Zhuolin: +86-138-0575-2568 (he is in charge of almost all the previous persecution events in past years)
The head of United Front Department: Qiu Youlai +86- 139-5716-5666
The head of Religious Bureau: Lan Xiaohua (female) +86-139-6710-5506
Xiaoshan City Government office: +86–571-8289- 8210

Concerned Christians may also write to:
Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong,
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China
2300 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington DC 20008
http://www.china-embassy.org/
TEL: 202-7456743 
Fax: 202- 588-0032

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