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3 Zhejiang Christians released from detention

ICC Note:

Three Chinese Christians, who were wrongfully arrested after protecting the cross on their church building, have been released from detention. The Christians were protecting their church buildings from illegal destruction by the government.

By Rachel Ritchie

3/13/2015 China (China Aid)-Three Christians from Wenzhou, in China’s coastal Zhejiang province, were released from detention on March 6; meanwhile, two Christians from other parts of Wenzhou remain in police custody. All five were detained during the province-wide persecution campaign against Protestant and Catholic churches, in which more than 425 churches received demolition notices and, in many cases, had their crosses removed or churches destroyed.

Ou Jinsi, Ji Qingcou and Ji Qingcao, all from Yazhong Church in Taishun County, Wenzhou were released from 136-day, 62-day, and 57-day detentions, respectively.

Yazhong Church received a notice from the Yayang town Party secretary on Aug. 15, 2014, ordering the church to remove their cross by the end of August. Additionally, the town government installed three surveillance cameras at an intersection leading to the church.

The church arranged for believers, one of whom was Ou, to guard the cross day and night. Ou was detained when he attempted to prevent a government employee from dismantling the cross. Several months later, the other men were detained when they attempted to negotiate with officials. The three were charged with “gathering a crowd to disrupt public order” and “obstructing official business.”

Lin, a Yazhong Church member, told China Aid that the men were acquitted of their charges and that they previously refused to sign confession statements or pay bail because they are not guilty.

“During the entire process, what the government did was illegal,” he said. “We have videos that can be used as evidence. The government can’t stand against such pressure. We even petitioned higher authorities; they released the detainees as a result of the pressure [the higher government exerted]. We’ve hired lawyers.”

When asked if the three released Christians planned to sue the government, Lin said they are still considering but may let go of the situation if the government doesn’t take any further actions. He added that the government never successfully removed the cross.

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