3 Zhejiang Christians released from detention

China Aid

By Rachel Ritchie
(Wenzhou, Zhejiang–March 13, 2015) 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.

Two other Wenzhou men are still in official custody; Pastor Huang Yizi from Fengwo Church in Pingyang County, Wenzhou and an elder from Sanjiang Church have yet to be released.

Huang was taken into custody on Aug. 3, 2014, and formally arrested on later that month for “gathering a crowd to disturb public order” after he helped Christians at Salvation Church, also in Pingyang County, defend their cross from removal by the authorities on July 21, 2014. His case was recently transferred to the Pingyang County People’s Court, but his lawyer, Zhang Kai, said on Sunday that there has been no news from the court.

China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
Email: [email protected]
Website: www.chinaaid.org

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