Pastor ‘Bike‘ Zhang Accused of Illegal Business Operation for Giving Away ’Pray for China’ Prayer Wrist Bands
Underground Chinese House Church Leader, Pastor “Bike” Zhang is in trouble with government officials again for freely distributing wristbands that remind people to “Bless China.” The officials accuse the pastor of engaging in “illegal business operations.”
11/25/08 China (ANS) A Chinese House Church leader is in trouble with Chinese authorities for giving out free silicon prayer bands that remind people to ‘Bless China.’
Pastor “Bike” Zhang Mingxuan has been accused by officials of engaging in “illegal business operations” for distributing the wristbands.
These prayer bands were distributed to house church Christians and other individuals in China as a gift and a way to remember to bless and pray for China during the Olympics.
ChinaAid, together with the ministry The Voice of the Martyrs, offered prayer bands to U.S. supporters. Between 600,000 and 800,000 ‘Pray for China’ prayer bands have been distributed, according to one report.
ChinaAid says Pastor Bike was held by authorities from October 16 until October 27. During this time, his family was evicted from their homes, his sons were beaten, and his wife and her sister were also placed under arrest.
After international outcry, authorities released Pastor Bike, his wife and her sister on October 27, ChinaAid says in an e-mail update.
When ChinaAid spoke with Pastor Bike about his detainment in October, he said that the Shilin Public Security Bureau (PSB) of Yunnan province accused him of engaging in illegal business operations “because he distributed ‘Bless China’ prayer bracelets during the Olympic Games.”
Others have also been harassed for wearing the prayer band, ChinaAid said. The authorities called the prayer band a “nationally politically sensitive item.”
ChinaAid has received reports of Chinese police stopping people on the streets and taking the bands off their wrists. Some individuals have been interrogated and arrested.
When questioned about his involvement distributing prayer bands, Pastor Bike demanded the authorities provide written documentation of their interrogation. Officials gave Pastor Bike a “Notice for Further Questioning.” He said the authorities were in a hurry to make the document, so there are many date and time errors in it. For example, he pointed out the error in the document listing the year as “1951.”
According to ChinaAid, Pastor Bike says he is currently in a perilous situation because authorities have already pressured seven major leaders of the Chinese House Church Alliance. He says these leaders are now under the authorities’ control. He adds that he understands the authorities are trying to intimidate him.
Pastor Bike told ChinaAid that on October 15, someone posted a note on a Christian website in an attempt to discredit him and bringing false charges on him.
He said, “I was attacked on blogs as an Eastern Lightning or Falun Gong-type cultist. They even denounced me as a ‘wolf in a sheep’s skin’ and that I ‘attempted to achieve political purposes through religion.’”
ChinaAid says Pastor Bike has been in Beijing since October 31, but he has been strictly forbidden to rent residences or stay in hotels in Beijing. His two sons, Zhang Jian and Zhang Chuang, who were beaten by police on October 16, are recovering from their injuries and are settled in Nanyang city, Henan province. They are not allowed in Beijing. Zhang Jian is waiting to have surgery on his nose and possibly his eyes.
ChinaAid supporters have sent funds to help this family with the medical expenses.