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Archive for December, 2008

Christians in Earthquake Disaster Areas Raided by Police on Christmas Eve

Posted by radiofreechina on December 27, 2008

By Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

SICHUAN, CHINA (ANS) ChinaAid contacts issued the following report of police raids on four households in the Sichuan earthquake disaster area on Christmas Eve. The households were raided because of the help they received from Christians.

According to ChinaAid sources, the construction sites of four households for disaster victims: Deng Zonghua, Li Baohua, Huang Tinggui and Li Baotong located in Group 2, Jingjia village, Quchuan township, Beichuan county of Sichuan province, were illegally raided by more than 40 policemen on December 24. The reason given for the raid is that they received the help of Christian volunteers from outside the area.

A ChinaAid spokeswoman said: “At about 3 p.m. on the afternoon of December 24, as the earthquake victims and the Christian volunteers for the construction of a building were taking a rest on the construction site, more than 40 policemen and an estimated 10 police vehicles led by Deng Changda, Chief of Security Section of the County Public Security Bureau, illegally raided the site.

“The policemen, untidy, badly dressed and reeking with strong smells of alcohol were vicious in their attack. They beat, swore at and insulted the people at the scene without apparent reasons except to fight illegal Christian gatherings. They threatened to demolish the house, newly-built by the earthquake victims. Finally, the police took away Li Zenggui, a local earthquake victim, and Christian volunteers Cao Gang, Brother Yang, as well as others. They also seized Bibles, hymnals, televisions, motorcycles and many other items owned by the Christians. During the raid, the police refused to present documents to prove their actions were legal.”

In a media release a ChinaAid spokeswoman explained that Quchuan township in Beichuan county of Sichuan province, is an area that was hard-hit from the last earthquake in Sichuan.

The spokeswoman goes on to say: “Due to its remote location, it is hard for the area to receive assistance from the government and official relief agencies. Most of the earthquake victims in this area are still living in simple and crude shacks. In cold weather, where the temperature is 4-5 degrees below zero Celsius and where it snows from time to time, it is extremely difficult for the disaster victims to make it through the cold winter without care and assistance from the outside. After the earthquake, Christian volunteers have continuously provided assistance to the local earthquake victims and have won approval and praises from the local earthquake victims.”

The ChinaAid spokeswoman added: “The raid by the police is extremely unpopular among the local earthquake victims. They want to hold the police liable for their illegal conduct. The consensus among them is that receiving assistance from Christian volunteers and accepting Christian beliefs are their rights as citizens and that it is very unreasonable for the government to attack them and punish them for helping themselves while the government is not able or willing to provide any assistance.”

The spokeswoman said that Brother Xing Guichang, leader of the local Christian volunteers, is a missionary from a house church in Taihe county, Anhui province.

“He came to the disaster area of Beichuan county only seven days after the earthquake and has been working there up to the present. With a good knowledge of the overall effects of the disaster in the local areas, Brother Xing has deep sympathy for the disaster victims. He has also won the trust of the local quake victims.

“Since he was not at the scene during the raid, he was not arrested by the police. He cannot make sense of the government’s conduct in attacking Christian volunteers for their assistance to the quake victims. Brother Xing has a great burden for the dilemma currently facing the quake victims. He calls on all Christians and those in the international community with a sense of righteousness to express their concern for the quake victims in Sichuan.”

The ChinaAid spokeswoman concluded: “December 25 is Christmas Day which is celebrated the world over. The world calls for freedom, peace and love. The gift the Chinese officials gave to the quake victims and the Christian relief workers this holiday is still ‘persecution!'”

The ChinaAid spokeswoman gave the phone number of Brother Xing Guichang for those wishing to contact him: (86) 15182405277.

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Christians Beaten and Registered Church in Jiangsu Province Demolished

Posted by radiofreechina on December 24, 2008

By Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

JIANGSU, CHHINA (ANS) Police, real estate developers, and government officials from Yancheng city, Jiangsu province, together with nearly a thousand unidentified people, forcibly demolished the Chengnan Christian Church of Tinghu District, on the morning of December 17, 2008.

ChinaAid says the destruction of this registered church came less than 24 hours after the church won a court case protecting their building against the same individuals who attacked it.

“The mob took away property belonging to the church and beat more than10 Christians. Contacts report that the destruction was the result of government officials and powerful businessmen working in collusion to obtain the coveted church property by force,” says ChinaAid in an e-mail report.

ChinaAid explained that on December 24, 1999, Chengnan Christian Church of Tinghu District was formally established upon review, approval and registration by Yancheng Municipal People’s Government. In order to construct a church building which would accommodate a congregation of 800, the church obtained a loan and the Christians enthusiastically donated personal funds for four years.

According to ChinaAid, on June 12, 2003, the congregation bought four mu (about 0.66 acres) of land for the church building. The construction of the church building started in April 2004, and was completed in February 2005. On March 11, 2005, the church members began Sunday worship and various church activities in the church building.

Pastor Ding Jianling said: “The grace of the Lord is overflowing, and the investment of five million yuan on the church all comes from the loving donations from brothers and sisters over the past 10 years or so and is the fruit of hard work. Now, the temple of God is built.”

However, beginning in 2006, sources say that real estate developers began to covet the land on which the church was built. The developers established connections in key agencies and departments and planned to build commercial housing units to sell for a large profit, ChinaAid said in its report.

ChinaAid reports: “Because of the pressure to sell the building and property, the church said it was willing to hold negotiations on equal footing to solve the problems. However, real estate developers and the relevant agencies in the government offered to pay only 2,860,000 yuan to settle the matter. They also refused to provide the land to replace the demolished church.”

Chengnan Christian Church refused to accept the unfair conditions. Contacts say that the real estate developers collaborated with relevant agencies in the government to harass the church by cutting off the water supply and electricity, ChinaAid said.

The ChinaAid report continued: “At 9 a.m. on January 16, 2008 government officials and real estate developers called in more than 500 people to lay siege to the church and tried to demolish the building. Since the church had already petitioned, filed a case and reported the incident to the relevant agencies for urgent resolution, and because members of the church came out to protect the building, the church temporarily avoided demolition.”

On May 29, 2008 real estate developers and officials once again, attempted to demolish the church, and once again, they failed.

ChinaAid also said that one day in August, a real estate developer desiring to provoke the congregation, beat up one church member so badly that the victim had to be hospitalized. The developer was required to pay for the medical expenses.

“Finally, in order to protect themselves from harassment from Yacheng government officials and the real estate developers, the church filed a lawsuit in Tinghu District Court. At 6 p.m. on December 16, 2008, Tinghu District Court ruled in favor of Chengnan Christian Church. After the ruling, the members of the church thought the government agencies and the real estate developers would abide by the law and would leave the church in peace,” the ChinaAid report continued.

It added: “However, the following day, December 17, between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m., more than 50 Christians were in gathered for prayer in the church, when a large number of police officers and unidentified people suddenly broke in. Without showing identification or giving any explanation, the police officers and attackers dragged the Christians outside the church, while hundreds of government officials, police officers, security guards and a large number of unidentified people gathered outside the church.

“According to witnesses, the leader of the mob was Cai Zhaoshan, Deputy General Secretary of Yancheng Municipal Government. Wielding tools, the crowd began to demolish the gate of the church, the office and other structures. Some of the mob loaded debris into trucks and hauled it away. When approximately 10 members of the church tried to stop the attackers, they were beaten.”

ChinaAid says that at the time of this report, contacts reported that the church’s office, the training center and cafeteria have all been destroyed. The damages are estimated to be more than 3 million y uan. Witnesses report that before officials left the scene, they boasted that they would come again in three days to continue the demolition.

Pastor Ding Jianling of Chengnan Christian Church says he is very sad that the church has been destroyed and that the brothers were beaten. Pastor Ding issued this appeal: “Please pray for us. We hope the authorities will repent for what they have done and may they be forgiven. In broad daylight, they occupied our property by force and broke the law knowingly. The government must give us an explanation for this.”

ChinaAid believes this to be a serious incident of religious persecution.

The group says: “This is a significant case exposing the government’s persecution against a Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) church, despite the fact that TSPM churches are registered and approved by the government. Forcible demolition of legally registered churches appears to be a new development in recent years where corrupt government agencies and real estate developers conspire together for huge financial profits at the expense of disadvantaged social groups and religious freedom.”

Bob Fu, president of ChinaAid stated: “The central government has demanded on many occasions, both in China and20abroad, that churches register, claiming that once churches are registered, they will receive legal protection by the government. How the government handles the Yancheng incident will be the touchstone to test the validity of their claim, freedom of religion and rule of law in China. ChinaAid will advocate for all Christians in China who are persecuted for their faith.”

Contact officials in Yancheng and let them know your concern for this church destruction:
Foreign Affairs Office of Yancheng City, Jiangsu
Director Zhao Ning
Fax: +86-515-6660827
Phone: +86- 515-6660825



For more information:
ChinaAid
Media Contact: Katherine Cason (267) 210-8278 or Katherine@ChinaAid.org
Washington, D.C. Contact: Jenny McCloy (202) 213-0506 or Jenny@ChinaAid.org
Websites: www.ChinaAid.org and www.MonitorChina.org
Fax: (432) 686-8355

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Two Chinese Pastors Say Bye to Jail, Spend Christmas at Home

Posted by radiofreechina on December 24, 2008

By Success Kanayo Uchime
Special to ASSIST News Service

ZHEJIANG, CHINA (ANS) In a good turn of events, two Chinese pastors Wang Weiliang and Zhu Baoguo will be spending this year’s Christmas at home after their miraculous release from jail by the authorities in China for medical reasons.

Release International stated this in a report adding that Pastor Wang is now receiving hospital treatment in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, and was released more than a year early.

It said that he was jailed for three years in December 2006 for protesting when officials demolished a church in Xiaoshan in the July and that six other co-defendants have already been freed, while a woman, Shen Zhuke, is still in prison.

On the other hand according to the report, Pastor Zhu, was arrested at a prayer meeting in Henan province in October, and was sentenced to one year in ‘re-education through labor’ for being an ‘evil cult leader,’ he was also freed on December 2.

The report said that Release International has for the past two weeks identified about 20 Christians in labor camps which they were previously unaware of stating that many other Chinese Christians face the prospect of Christmas in jail.

“In Hubei province, four Christians have not been seen since they were detained by officials in Jingmen and Xiangfan early last month. In Henan province, Mao Minzi has been sentenced to one year’s ‘re-education through labor’ for ‘organizing an illegal religious gathering’ in Xin’an.”

It noted that in place like Henan, and Xiji in Tai Kang County, Shandong, two groups of more than 50 house church Christians were arrested earlier this December and that in Beijing and Hangzhou, four Christians were sent to labor camp for between 12 and 18 months for preaching to students.

Furthermore that in Beijing, the authorities have continued to hound Pastor ‘Bike’ Mingxuan whose Chinese House Church Alliance was officially ‘abolished’ last month. Pastor Bike was arrested at the home of church leader Hua Huiqi late on December 9 and then was driven to Yanjiao, Hebei province, where the officials have tried to compel him to give information on the whereabouts of his fellow church members as a condition for the release of his elderly mother, Shuang.

“They didn’t allow me to live in Beijing. Wherever I go, they monitor my calls,” Pastor Bike said.

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Four Christians Missing in Hubei Since Beginning of November; Many More Persecuted by Authorities

Posted by radiofreechina on December 14, 2008

By Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

HUBEI, CHINA (ANS) Four Christians are missing and many more have been persecuted in Hubei province during the month of November 2008 according to the South China Church house church network.

ChinaAid recently received a detailed report from South China Church leaders detailing the arrests, beatings and disappearances of Christians in their house churches in Jingmen city and Xiangfan city areas.

According to church leaders, the four missing believers include: Mr. Yi Peng, Mr. Zhu Yongping, Ms. Wang Ke and one other Christian man. They were all last seen being forcibly taken away by Bureau of State Security officials in separate incidents at the beginning of November. None have been heard from since.

Other Christians have been beaten publically by plainclothes officials; their Bibles, personal property and money taken. In one incident on November 1, house church Christians Li Duojia, Qiu Xiangying and one other Christian were getting ready to get on a train at Jingmen Train Station, when they were beaten by seven or eight plainclothes officials from the Bureau of State Security and investigation team on the train platform. They were handcuffed and detained at a hotel across the street. The authorities took away their Bibles, saying: “We persecute you, confiscate your Bibles and our purpose is not to allow you to believe in Jesus. . This persecution of you is to thoroughly destroy your church, get rid of the missionaries and disband you believers.” During the interrogation, authorities grabbed the Christians by the hair and took photos of them by force from all sides, and then forcibly took prints of their hands and the soles of their feet.

South China Church contacts stated, “Many missionaries and believers are so chased that they cannot go back to their own homes, till their fields, take care of their parents or raise their own children. . We also call on peace-loving people of righteousness from all walks of life to show their concern for South China Church and Chinese believers being persecuted by the authorities.”

Full Report by South China Church About Persecution Occurring in November 2008

ChinaAid says Christians from South China Church, for whom Christian churches, peace-loving people and all circles within the international community have shown so much concern, have once again been persecuted and arrested by the relevant authorities in Jingmen city and Xiangfan city areas in Hubei province during November 2008.

ChinaAid says that on November 1, 2008, as Brother Yi Peng, a missionary from South China Church, was visiting a sick believer in Jingmen city when he was arrested by authorities from the Bureau of State Security. He has not been heard from since.

ChinaAid also says that on November 1, 2008, as missionaries Li Duojia, Qiu Xiangying and one other person from South China Church were getting ready to get on a train, they were hit to the ground by seven or eight plainclothes officials from the Bureau of State Security and an investigation team, on the platform. Their hands were handcuffed behind their back. They were taken and detained at a hotel across the street from Jingmen Train Station where they were kicked and punched. The authorities also took away the Bibles the missionaries were carrying with them, saying: “We persecute you and confiscate your Bibles; our purpose is not to allow you to believe in Jesus.” They also said: “Except the TSPM [Three-Self Patriotic Movement], all other organizations that believe in Jesus Christ are cults. Your South China Church has long been determined as a cult. This persecution of you is to thoroughly destroy your church, get rid of the missionaries and disband you believers.” During the interrogation when Li Duojia and others kept sile nt, the people from the Bureau of State Security said: “Your practice may work in Hong Kong, but not in China.” Saying so, they grabbed them by the hair and forcibly took photos of them from all sides; forced them to press their fingerprints from all 10 fingers; made prints of their palms and prints of the soles of their feet.

ChinaAid reports that on November 2, 2008, Brother Zhu Yongping, a missionary from South China Church, was struck to the ground by the plainclothes officials from the Bureau of State Security on a street in Jingmen city and taken away. He has not been heard since. As the missionary, Sister Wang Ke, was going to a restroom in the house of a believer, people from the Bureau of State Security climbed to the second floor and broke through the door into the room, broke into the restroom and took her away. She has not been heard from since then.

ChinaAid further reports that on November 2, 2008, as Sister Xue, a missionary from South China Church, was passing by Jingmen Railroad Station, she was taken to Dongshan Hotel by several plainclothes officials from the Bureau of State Security. Another young sister was also taken to Dongshan Hotel by the people from the Bureau of State Security while she was walking in the street. Detained in Dongshan Hotel, were also other missionaries and believers from South China Church.

At 2 or 3 o’clock on November 2, 2008, as missionaries from South China Church: Tang Mengyu, Deng Xiaolin, and believer Deng Yuanzhi and other two people were taking a rest in the house of a believer in Xiangfan, people from the Bureau of State Security suddenly broke in, turned everything in the house upside down, took them away and detained them at Nanhu Hotel where they beat up the victims. They also forcibly took photos of the detained missionaries and the believers, got fingerprints from them and forced them to write statements of guarantees not to believe in the Lord anymore.

In another development, ChinaAid says it has also learned that the sister of Pastor Gong Shengliang was on her way home after bringing her daughter-in-law, who was expecting a baby, to Jingmen Hospital for an examination. While she was in the restroom in Jingmen Railroad Station, a man and a woman from the Bureau of State Security broke into the restroom and took her to Dongshan Hotel where they handcuffed her; searched her body; took photos of her; seized her ID and some cash in the amount of more than 1,000 yuan which was left over from the examination payment. On November 3, they placed her under supervised residence on the charge of “undermining the security of the state.” On the night of the 4th, they covered her head with dark cloth and transferred her to Nanhu Hotel in Xiangfan. Meanwhile, during the night of November 2, four plainclothes agents from the Bureau of State Security came to the place where Pastor Gong Shengliang’s brother-in-law lives. They turned everything upside down in the house and seized the deposit boo k for the family’s business account. The family sells grains and works a human-powered rickshaw to earn money to support and care for their pregnant daughter-in-law. The agents also froze the account and seized the daughter-in-law’s ID. They took Pastor Gong’s brother-in-law to the Bureau of State Security. He has not been heard from since.

ChinaAid states that presently, missionaries and believers in house churches in China could be arrested at any time. Many missionaries and believers are so chased that they cannot go back to their own homes, till their fields, take care of their parents or raise their own children.

“We call on all Christian churches to work together to show their concern on the plight of the churches in China and South China Church that are being persecuted. We also call on peace-loving people of righteousness from all walks of life to show their concern for South China Church and Chinese believers being persecuted by the authorities.

“We feel so sorry and so miserable that the Chinese government is once again arresting and detaining religious believers on a large scale. We call on the relevant Chinese authorities to stop immediately the persecution of Chinese Christians and immediately release the missionaries and believers from South China Church and also Christians arrested in other parts of China!”


For further information, contact ChinaAid
Media Contact: Katherine Cason (267) 210-8278 or Katherine@ChinaAid.org
Washington, D.C. Contact: Jenny McCloy (202) 213-0506 or Jenny@ChinaAid.org
Website: www.ChinaAid.org  and www.MonitorChina.org Fax: (432) 686-8355

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Pastor “Bike” Zhang Attempts to File Administrative Complaint with Support of 15 Chinese Legal Professionals and Intellectuals; Court Declines Case

Posted by radiofreechina on December 10, 2008

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

BEIJING, CHINA (ANS) On December 4, 2008 Pastor “Bike” Zhang Mingxuan attempted to file an “Administrative Statement of Complaint” against the government decision to abolish the Chinese House Church Alliance, but the No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court of Beijing refused to accept the case.

Pastor “Bike” Zhang Mingxuan baptizes Chinese believer

A news report from China Aid said that in support of the Chinese House Church Alliance, 15 Chinese Christian legal professionals and intellectuals have issued a formal solemn declaration against the actions of the Ministry of Civil Affairs, stating in part, “If this order of abolishment continues to be used in other expanded areas, this could well cause the abolishment of all the Christian house churches.”

The actions of Pastor Bike and the legal professionals are in protest of the measures taken by the Ministry of Civil Affairs against Pastor Bike and the Chinese House Church Alliance. On November 28, 2008, officials from the Ministry of Civil Affairs announced to Pastor Bike the “Decision Statement on Abolishment” of the Chinese House Church Alliance which reads: “It has been found through investigations that the ‘Chinese House Church Alliance’ is not registered, and it engages in its activities in the name of a social organization without authorization. Pursuant to Article 35 of the ‘Regulation on Registration and Administration of Social Organizations,’ this agency has hereby made the decision to abolish the ‘Chinese House Church Alliance.’ – Public Seal of Ministry of Civil Affairs, November 28, 2008.”

The same morning the abolishment of the Chinese House Church Alliance was announced, officers arrested 17 Christians and an American reporter who were holding a prayer meeting in the residence of Pastor Bike. All the Christians were released that day, but officials confiscated more than 600 Bibles computers, VCD players and other personal property. All confiscated items were returned three days later except for the Bibles and Christian literature.

On December 4, Pastor Bike and his lawyer went to file the administrative statement at the No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court of Beijing. However, the court declined to accept the case, saying Pastor Bike cannot sue Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA). The reason given was that Pastor Bike cannot prove it was the MCA that orchestrated the events of November 28, because there was no legal document issued.

Court officials said that it was possible the Public Security Bureau (PSB) that confiscated the property. After 20 minutes with the court officials, the case was still not filed successfully. It is believed that this is a tactic used by government officials to protect government interests and to delay responsible actions on this case.

Since China Aid has reported on Pastor Bike and his family, many from around the world have responded by speaking out on his behalf. Pastor Bike told China Aid recently that he has been encouraged by phone calls he has received from an official from the U.S. embassy in Beijing who expressed concern for him and his family on behalf of the U.S. embassy.

Friends of China Aid Visit Family of Christian Prisoner Shi Weihan

Shi Weihan pictured with his family

In another story, China Aid reported that recently friends of the organization visited Christian prisoner Shi Weihan’s family and reported to China Aid about the family’s situation and ongoing persecution by the Chinese government.

Christian bookstore owner and house church leader, Shi Weihan, has been imprisoned in Beijing Haidian District Detention Center since March 19, 2008 for printing and distributing Bibles and other Christian literature.

No charges have ever been filed against Shi Weihan. He is being held under “administrative detention” and could be held up to three years without any charges. Shi Weihan’s wife is bearing much of the burden for their family. Authorities continue to pressure the family. It is reported that Shi Weihan’s brother has been beaten by police for his involvement with Shi Weihan’s Christian bookstore.

For more information, go to www.ChinaAid.org or www.MonitorChina.org

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Four Church Leaders Sentenced to Labor Camps as More Than 400 College Students in Beijing and Zhejiang Detained and Interrogated

Posted by radiofreechina on December 5, 2008

By Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

BEIJING, AND ZHEJIANG, CHINA (ANS) More than 400 Christian college students have been arrested and interrogated following raids on House Churches by Chinese authorities.

After conducting detailed investigations, ChinaAid has confirmed that from the end of September to early November 2008, a large police force was dispatched to raid house gatherings in Beijing and in areas near college campuses in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province.

ChinaAid found that more than 400 Christian college students were arrested and interrogated. House church leaders who led the gatherings were detained, and four were sentenced to re-education through labor for one to one and a half years.

House church members were accused of “preaching to students” and “engaging in cult activities.” The house church groups were all affiliated with the Local Church network founded by Witness Lee (1905-1997).

It is believed that this large-scale suppression by the Chinese authorities against the Christian college students in Beijing and Hangzhou is a part of the government’s efforts to limit citizens’ religious freedom after the Olympic Games.

ChinaAid calls on the relevant agencies in China to stop the harassment of house church Christians, return illegally confiscated funds and personal property, and immediately release the four church leaders who have been sentenced to re-education through labor.

Read more about the raid in Beijing:
http://chinaaid.org/2008/12/03/house-church-training-raided-in-beijing-110-interrogated-2-detained/

Read more about the raid in Hangzhou:
http://chinaaid.org/2008/12/03/nine-house-church-meetings-raided-simultaneously-in-hangzhou-city/

Read more about the Local Church:
http://chinaaid.org/2008/12/03/about-the-%E2%80%9Clocal-church%E2%80%9D-network/

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