Radio Free China

Human Rights and Religious Freedom News

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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