ICC Note: Two Christians in western China’s Xinjiang region were detained for 11 days under the charges of “utilizing religion to disturb public order.” The charges came about when it was found that the two individuals were teaching babysitting lessons based on Bible passages. This case is just one of many examples of the lack of religious freedom that Christians in China face and the restrictions that keep them from practicing their faith openly.
By Rachel Ritchie
04/29/2015 China (China Aid) – Two Christians in China’s far western Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region were placed under an 11-day administrative detention on April 11 for “utilizing religion to disturb public order” because they were teaching the children they were babysitting character-improvement lessons based on the Bible’s teachings.
“At about 5 p.m., on April 11, police knocked on the door of a Christian named He Mengting’s residence and broke in,” said a local church member in Huocheng County, Yili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture, Xinjiang. “Several children were gathered at He’s home because their parents had to work. Their mother asked Lou Nannan and Zhang Heng’En, who go to the same church as the family, to babysit. Having been trained in caring for children, they agreed. They taught the children some character-building lessons based on the Bible. After police broke in, they videoed the scene and took the seven children, Lou Nannan, and Zhang away.”
“Lou Nannan, the daughter of Pastor Lou Yuanqi … was taken by police. That night, her father waited for news from the police. The next morning, they took the children to the detention center at Huocheng County Public Security Bureau, where they were released. Lou Nannan and another church member were not released,” Beijing-based lawyer Li Dunyong said.
Pastor Lou confirmed that he waited outside the gate of the detention center after his daughter was detained. “Authorities told me no one could visit the detainees and wouldn’t allow me to give my daughter daily necessities,” Pastor Lou said.
The following day, Pastor Lou was told by the Huocheng County Public Security Bureau director that the local police station was handling the case. When China Aid contacted the local police department, an officer informed us that the public security bureau was in charge of the case.