Chinese House Church Repeatedly Targeted for Persecution; Members Detained and Sent to Labor Camp

ICC Note:

“A house church belonging to the China for Christ denomination has been the target of months of attacks from local authorities in the city of Zhuozhou, Hebei province, with church members being illegally detained, interrogated and sent to labor camps simply for attending worship services or other church activities,” China Aid reports.

3/9/2012 China (China Aid) – A house church belonging to the China for Christ denomination has been the target of months of attacks from local authorities in the city of Zhuozhou, Hebei province, with church members being illegally detained, interrogated and sent to labor camps simply for attending worship services or other church activities, ChinaAid has learned.

Local authorities have also forcibly confiscated 170,000 yuan ($27,000) of church funds without following any of the required legal procedures. They have also sent people to labor camps and demolished the home where the church was meeting.

On the afternoon of Nov 8, 2011, 52 villagers met for worship in the home of fellow villager Wang Jinfeng in Xuyi village, Xuliying, Diawo Township in Zhuozhou. At about 4:15, about 140 officials from the local police department, the national security bureau, the civil affairs bureau, the religious affairs bureau and other government departments, led by police from the local police station, surrounded the house where the Christians were meeting, then entered the room where the service was being held and ordered all the attendees not to move while they started filming.

A religious affairs bureau official announced that the meeting was an illegal service because it had not been registered with or approved by the government departments supervising religious affairs. He ordered that they end the meeting immediately and submit to an investigation. At the same time, the authorities found a bag under a bed containing 170,000 yuan ($27,000) donated by church members and announced that they were confiscating the funds but refused to give a receipt as required by law for taking the property.

They then took everywhere in the room under guard to a third-floor classroom of the Diaowo high school, where they took down everyone’s personal details and interrogated them. At about 8:20 p.m., they transferred everyone under guard to a first-floor classroom and registered everyone again, then assigned everyone to separate rooms where they were interrogated again but this time with a note taker transcribing the interrogation. Shortly after midnight, they ordered everyone to sign guarantee documents. The detainees were then taken under guard back to the original meeting place, where they were guarded by several village officials and police. Finally, at about 6 a.m., after once again registering everyone, the guards left.

However, Zhang Suhua, Lee Bangrong and Liu Cuiying were taken to the police station where they continued to be held. Four days later, Zhang and Li were released, but Liu continued to be detained. During the time that Liu was in custody, local officials threatened her family daily, saying the house where the church had been meeting had to be demolished. (The house was built on land that belonged to Liu’s sister.) Finally, at noon on Nov. 15, the seventh day of Liu’s detention, at a time when Liu’s husband, Wang Jinfeng, was not around, the house was torn down by people working for the village Communist Party committee. Liu was released the same afternoon.

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