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ICC Note: If these 4 men can win the case to be allowed to read their Bibles while in prison it would be a huge victory toward religious freedom in China . Please pray that they will win their case!

Four Christians in Labor Camp Apply for the Right to Read the Bible and Hold Sunday Services in Sichuan Province

9/8/2006 China (Christian Newswire) — China Aid Association learned August 31st, four Christians in custody in Langzhong City , Sichuan Province submitted applications through their lawyers demanding their right to read the Bible in the detention center and asking that a suitable place inside the detention center be provided for regular Sunday services.

The four Christians, Li Ming, Jin Jirong, Wang Yuan, and Li Mingbo, were illegally arrested June 27, 2006, when they went to the Social Order Office in their town to inquire about the situation of Zhu Guizhen and Shi Shihe, two members of their church. Zhu Guizhen and Shi Shihe were arrested earlier in the day while on their way home from Sunday service by a group of plain-clothed policemen.

July 25, 2006, the four Christians were sentence to 2 years “re-education through labor” by the Nanchong Municipal Re-education through Labor Administrative Committee. They are currently imprisoned in Langzhong Detention Center .

The four applicants have not been allowed to read the Bible since June 27, 2006, when they were sent to the detention center. The officers even forbid them to use biblical terms such as God, Jesus, etc, when they communicated with their families.

August 20, 2006, the four illegally-imprisoned Christians engaged Doctor Li Baiguang from Beijing and Miss Gou Qingju, as their lawyers.

August 31, 2006, Dr. Li Baiguang presented the formal application on behalf of his four clients to the Langzhong Detention Center requesting:

The assurance of their right to read the Bible in the Langzhong Detention Center where the four applicants are currently detained.

“The applicants’ request conforms to the rights granted by Chinese Constitution and should be assured and protected.” Dr. Li writes in the application, “It is the legal duty of the Langzhong Detention Center to carry out the regulations of the 36th Article in Chinese Constitution, “To protect normal religious activities,” inside the detention center. It is also their responsibility to take necessary measures for the applicants’ to exercise their right of religious freedom.

“Because of the current reality in China , one that lacks democratic supervision and judicial independence, it is very possible that our efforts will not gain any substantial success.” Dr. Li Baiguang commented on the application. “But we will still go through the entire procedure as put forth by the Chinese constitution – as the well-known British saying goes ‘The right originates from the procedure.’ Though we know that our legal action may have little obvious effect, we will persevere, and exhaust all possible legal means to defend our rights and freedom. Because through this case, a vast number of Chinese Christians and citizens would know that one’s religious freedom can not be deprived even in prison. Thus more Christians would be encouraged to resort to the law as their weapon to defend their right of religious freedom, especially those in prison and their family members, thus promoting evangelism in the prison and in China .

“This case would also shake up Chinese judicial officers and let them know that religious freedom is a birth right that can never be deprived. Even when one has lost his physical freedom, his heart can never be imprisoned. Secondly, this case can serve as a legal education for the officers in the Chinese government who lack the basic concept of Rule of Law and gradually teach them to respect citizens’ civil rights. Thirdly, this case will enlighten Chinese citizens, cultivate their concept and awareness of Rule of Law; thus mentally preparing them for a future democratic system in China .”

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