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Chinese Government launches nationwide campaign against uncontrolled religious activities

Massive arrests occur in Inner Mongolia , Liaoning , Xinjiang , Jiangsu , Henan , Shandong , and Anhui

By Michael Ireland

8/24/07 China (ANS) — The Chinese central government has launched a nationwide targeted campaign to clamp down the so-called “illegal religious activities” since mid-July 2007.

China Aid Association (CAA) says reports indicate massive arrests have occurred in at least 8 provinces including Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang , Jiangsu , Henan , Shandong , Shanxi and Anhui . Some are still being detained for receiving bibles while some were persecuted by having their water and electricity cut off by the government because of hosting Sunday schools at home.

According to a report posted at the official website on July 6 by the Ministry of Public Security (MPS), Mr. LIU Jiaguo, deputy Minister of MPS, urged all local officials to start a one month campaign to “severely crack down illegal religion and evil religious activities” in order to eliminate the political unstable elements in the countryside. (The Chinese text of his speech can be viewed in both the official news report and MPS website)

CAA investigators reports that seven house church leaders have been detained since August 21 from a house church meeting in Inner Mongolia . Four pastors from Liaoning province including pastor QIN Tao(29 year-old), WANG Cong (34 year-old), WANG Shengjun(34 year-old), WANG Youjun(47 year-old) along with three Christian women leaders from Inner Mongolia were taken away from their worship location at Leizhiwa village, Kouhe town, Kulun Qi, Inner Mongolia. They are detained at the PSB office of Kulun Qi now.

One church leader was detained with two others and all three were wounded during a raid of a house church at Jianhu city, Jiangsu province on August 19 while the believers were having their Sunday worship service. That same church was attacked on July 11 when they hosted a summer VBS for 150 children.

Three church leaders from Henan , Anhui and Shanxi were detained for five days when they took some Sunday school literature from a house church at Zaolin village, Guanjin town, Xincai county, Henan province on August 17.

Three church leaders were detained from 5 to 10 days as administrative punishment on August 9 while they were having a worship meeting at Qinghe town, Yutai town, Shandong province. The names of the detained are pastor DU Dafeng, CHENG Zhenan and Ms. Yue Ying.

CAA says a well-known Christian businessman Mr. ZHOU Heng has been under criminal detention since August 3. He was arrested when he tried to pick up 2 tons of Bibles at a bus station sent by someone from another province to distribute to local believers. A number of local house church leaders and believers had been questioned since then. According to his detention paper sent to Mr. ZHOU’s wife CHEN Jihong, brother Zhou Heng was put “on criminal detention on suspicion of illegal business operation at 21:00 on August 3, 2007.” He could face up to 15 years imprisonment if convicted.

Currently, ZHOU Heng is being detained at Xishan Detention Center by Urumqi Municipal Public Security Bureau, Xinjiang. The Chinese government only allows the official sanctioned churches to print and distribute limited number of bibles.

On July 14, 2007, Sister Kong Lingrong and several young Christians between the ages of 10 to 15 were reading the Bible and praying in the house when Li Zhizhong, head of Company 4, Regiment 31, 2nd Agricultural Division of Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps of the Communist Party of China, Wang Cairong, deputy director of the company, Zhang Chunlan, the political director, and Jiang Wei, member of the security staff of the company, came in and said this was an illegal gathering and that children are not allowed to believe in Jesus.

Sister Kong Lingrong told them that she was only reading some Bible passages to them and telling them how to be a true human being. Sister Kong also showed them a copy of “United Nations Convention on Children’s Rights.” They asked: “Where did you get these things?” They questioned the students and asked them which grades they are in and who are their class instructors. After that, the persecution against sister KONG intensified. Sister KONG was told she conducted illegal gatherings at her home. They also ordered her to write a statement of self-criticism and self- examination on this matter. On July 20, Wu Zhilu, deputy political commissar of the company, four policemen from the local police station, six leaders and over 20 people from the TV station, water station, and five to six other work units, stopped electricity and water services to Sister Kong Lingrong’s house. It was reported in that night’s news program on the company’s TV channel.

“The Chinese church believers are faithful peace- makers in building a stable moral society in China ,” said Rev. Bob Fu, President of CAA. “We call upon the Chinese government to correct this grave misunderstanding by allowing these faithful to contribute more social service without fear of arrest and retribution.”

You may address your concerns to:

Ruan Boping: Regiment leader of Regiment 31, 2nd Agricultural Division, Xinjiang Construction Corps. Office Tel: +86-996-435-0666

Political Commissar of Regiment 31, 2nd Agricultural Division, Xinjiang Construction Corps. Office Tel: +86- 996-435-0046

Comprehensive Management Office of Regiment 31, 2nd Agricultural Division, Xinjiang Construction Corps. Office Tel: +86-996-435-0015 Phone number of Sister Kong Lingrong’s residence +86-996-435-3020

Public Security Bureau