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The Vice-Grip on Linfen Church Tightens: Beijing Lawyer and Pastor Barred from Entering Shanxi

ICC Note:

Public security officers seized and interrogated Pastor Bike and his wife on October 13th for attempting to visit the leaders of the Linfen-Fushan church who were recently arrested. They had the couple taken home the following day, but have now barred them from entering Shanxi.

10/20/09 China (ChinaAid) Returning home from his forced vacation in the mountainous regions of Henan, Pastor Bike learned of the recent arrests of Pastor Wang Xiaoguang and Sister Yang Rongli. Moved by these unjust actions against Linfen Church, Pastor Bike and his wife, Xie Feng-Lan, left their home on October 12th to visit the leaders in detention. As they crossed the Shanxi border into Linfen City at 4:30 the morning of October 13th, twelve public security officers seized them, searching their persons for contraband, and roughly escorted them to immediate detention in a nearby hotel. The officers had been alerted to his movements by the police network, and had apparently been up all night “waiting for him.”

At the hotel, they separated Pastor Bike from his wife, assigning four male guards to watch him, and more male guards to monitor his wife. After three hours, the guards shoved a sack over his head, and led him to the Linfen City “drug rehabilitation center”–which he later learned, according to a handwritten sign beside the building title, doubles as the local detention center.

Inside the cell, the officers wasted no time in shoving him to the ground and interrogating him:

On October 14th, the Linfen City Public Security Bureau phoned the Nanyang Public Security Bureau in Henan at 9:00 AM to come remove Pastor Bike from their province. Back in the room, they demanded he write a self-incriminating statement, disclosing why he and his wife subversively traveled to Linfen. Refusing to comply, Pastor Bike and his wife were shipped home to Henan at 5:20 PM on October 15, banned from returning to Shanxi for the foreseeable future.

Only days before the 60th Anniversary of CPC-rule celebration, prominent Christian human rights attorney Li Baiguang was warned not to defend Linfen Church in court. The Beijing Bureau of Justice informed Attorney Li that the church had been classified as “anti-government,” and was therefore considered a threat to the State. Any movement toward supporting Linfen Church would be considered an act of collaboration against the social order.

ChinaAid’s legal defenders in Beijing voiced genuine concern and fear for the safety of any lawyers who might dare to approach the case. It has become a high profile and dangerous situation on all fronts. To date, Linfen Christian Church members have not been allowed access to legal counsel, and there is evidence to suggest all attempts to defend the “anti-government’ organization in court will be barred.

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