Xinjiang Church Members Succeed in Getting Administrative Punishment Revoked
ICC Note: This incident shows that some of China’s believers are learning to boldly stand up for their legitimate rights under Chinese law. It must be remembered, however, that this is only a first step in what can be a long and difficult process, and that the authorities will be allowed by the court to impose a new punishment within 60 days, as long as “it follows all legal stipulations”.
By Rachel Ritchie
05/06/2015 China (China Aid)
Members of the Candlelight Church in China’s far western Xinjiang recently won an administrative reconsideration lodged against the Hami Public Security Bureau. While the decision from the Hami Municipal People’s Government stated that the administrative punishment issued following the initial conflict in January must be revoked, it also gave 60 days for the invocation of a new punishment provided it follows all legal stipulations.
The initial incident occurred on Jan. 10, 2015, when Party Secretary Zhu of the Hami Municipal Ethnic and Religious Affairs Bureau led the Hami Municipal Public Security Bureau and officers from other local government agencies to disrupt a gathering at Candlelight Church. Church members reported that more than 20 officers from the various agencies were present and that 10 of those officers were armed with submachine guns.
“The religious affairs bureau decided that the donations from the church members, which were used to purchase the rooms we gather in, are illegal revenue and that the church should be fined three times the amount of the donations. The religious affairs bureau issued the church a fine of more than 50,000 Yuan (more than U.S. $8,000),” he said.
Miao, along with Qian Aili, who are the “main organizers of illegal Christian activities,” and the three men whose names were on the property deed, Hong Wanijn, Pan Cha and Li Guangming, “do not agree with the Administrative Punishment Decision” and filed an administrative reconsideration, according to the administrative review decision, below. As previously stated, the Hami Municipal People’s Government ruled to “revoke the Administrative Punishment Decision (2015, No. 01) issued by Hami Ethnic and Religious Affairs Commission on Feb. 3, 2015 and demand the respondent to take new administrative actions within 60 days.”