Radio Free China

Human Rights and Religious Freedom News

Nine House Church Christians in Henan detained for helping earthquake victims

Posted by radiofreechina on June 6, 2008

Two Bible teachers in Shandong sentenced to criminal detention

By Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

HENAN, CHINA (ANS) — Officials from the Public Security Bureau (PSB) and Religious Affairs Bureau (RAB) disrupted the house church meeting and forcefully detained seven of the participants during a Sunday service at Taikang County, Henan Province, on June 1.

Christian aid relief truck
China Aid Association (CAA) said that police officials did not state the reason for the detention. During interrogation, police officials questioned the members as to who would be taking donations to the earthquake disaster area.

One woman and her child were released, however the other six remain in detention under a charge of sending money to a disaster area in the name of a house church. Both PSB and RAB officials have claimed that they would not release those detained until each paid a 1,000Yuan fine.

China Aid has also learned that, on May 28, two Christians in Hua county, Henan province were detained under the charge of religious inciting on obstruction to earthquake relief work. One was released on June 2 after paying a 500Yuan penalty and gifts worth more than 4,000Yuan value to PSB officers. Another one is said to be released on June 3.

In further progress of the case reported on May 27, concerning the attack on a house church seminary in Weifang city, Shandong province.

Principal Lu Zhaojun and teacher Zhang Yage as well as teacher Jin Xiuxiang were released on May 28 after CAA’s report of the case. However, when Lu and teacher Jin Xiu Xiang returned to the PSB office at 8am in the morning of June 2 inquiring about the official documents of confiscated goods, including a bank card worth 300,000 Yuan and a mini van, they were re-detained and sentenced to one month criminal detention for allegedly committing an illegal business operation.

The seminary’s items including Bibles and other Christian literature, the mini-van and the 300,000Yuan bankcard have not been returned.

CAA says that in recent years, the Chinese government has used the charge of “illegal business operation” against those house church believers who either managed bookstores or printed Bibles.

“The House Churches deserve the right to do charitable work such as providing relief to earthquake victims,” said CAA President Bob Fu. “We urge the Henan government to change its backward mentality from discriminating against those who continue to do good deeds.”

To voice your concern please contact:
Chinese Embassy in Washington DC
Address: 2201 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W., Washington D.C. 20007
Tel: (202) 338-6688, (202)5889760
Fax: (202) 588-9760

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