American Journalist and Interpreter Detained in Henan; Chinese Government Bans Chinese House Church

China Aid Association
Photo: Decision Statement of the Abolishment the Chinese House Church Alliance which was announced on November 28, 2008 by the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

(HENAN — November 29, 2008) ChinaAid has learned that at 7 a.m. on November 28, 2008, Pastor “Bike” Zhang Mingxuan, President of the Chinese House Church Alliance, was forcibly taken by four plain-clothes officers from Henan Public Security Department and City of Nanyang to the building where Nanyang Municipal Union Hotel is located.  More than 20 government officials who claimed they were from Ministry of Civil Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, Henan Provincial Department of Civil Affairs, Department of Public Security Bureau and State Administration for Religious Affairs forcibly announced to Pastor Bike the “Decision Statement on Abolishment” of the Chinese House Church Alliance, coded Min Qu Zi (2008) No. 1 and signed on November 28 by Ministry of Civil Affairs of the People’s Republic of China.
The Decision Statement claims: “It has been found through investigations that the ‘Chinese House Church Alliance’ is not registered, and it engages in its activities in the name of a social organization without authorization. Pursuant to Article 35 of the ‘Regulation on Registration and Administration of Social Organizations,’ this agency has hereby made the decision to abolish the ‘Chinese House Church Alliance.’ — Public Seal of Ministry of Civil Affairs, November 28, 2008.”
After announcing the Decision Statement, government officials wanted Pastor Bike to sign the document, but he refused. Pastor Bike’s cell phone, camera and camcorder were confiscated.  During the interrogation, Pastor Bike’s wife was also taken by force from her home to the same hotel. Pastor Bike and his wife were not released until 5 p.m. A special crew was assigned to videotape the whole process.
The same morning, at 10 a.m., 17 Christians were holding a prayer meeting in the residence of Pastor Bike. Also present at the prayer meeting were with Peter Ford, an American reporter for the Beijing Bureau of the Christian Science Monitor (phone number: +86-10-6532-3127) and his Chinese interpreter. Ford, his interpreter and the 17 Chinese Christians were all taken away by the officers from the Bureau of State Security. Peter Ford and his interpreter were escorted to an airplane in the afternoon to travel from Nanyang to Beijing. The 17 Christians were taken to the local police station where they were intimidated and illegally detained. They were released at 1 p.m. During the detention, each Christian was photographed and forced to sign documents. More than 600 Bibles, along with computers, VCD players, Shengshan magazines and many cell phones were confiscated.
ChinaAid believes that announcing the decision of abolishment of the Chinese House Church Alliance in the name of the Ministry of Civil Affairs is a new tactic of the Chinese government in suppressing and encroaching upon the freedom of religion.
According to its own study, the Ministry of Civil Affairs believes the number of unregistered non-governmental organizations is 10 times that of the registered organizations. The Ministry of Civil Affairs reported that among the volunteers and organizations who went to disaster areas in Sichuan for relief efforts, 63% of them were Christians who spontaneously organized themselves, including the relief personnel organized by the Chinese House Church Alliance.
Dr. Fan Yafeng, a prominent constitutional law scholar from China Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, believes that the Chinese House Church Alliance is legal and constitutional on two aspects and should not be regarded as an illegal organization. First of all, it is in conformity with the law of the Bible and God and the natural law in people’s hearts; second, it is in conformity with Article 35 of the Chinese Constitution which states: “Citizens of the People’s Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration.” The essence of the so-called “Regulation on Registration and Administration of Social Organizations” is actually to limit the basic rights of citizens with administrative regulations, which violates the principles in the constitutional jurisprudence that the basic rights of citizens cannot be restricted unless the Constitution or the law dictates it.
ChinaAid calls on churches all over the world and people with conscience to make inquiries to the relevant agencies in China on the suppression of the Chinese House Church Alliance. The phone numbers and addresses of the agencies for your inquiries are:
The Ministry of Civil Affairs. Chen Chuanshu, Director of General Office.  Yu Jianliang, Deputy Director of General Office.  Tel: 010-58123032
Address of the Ministry of Civil Affairs: 147, Beiheyan Blvd., Dongcheng District, Beijing.  Postal code: 100721. Tel: 010-58123114
State Administration for Religious Affairs.  Guo Wei, Director of Foreign Affairs Department.  Tel: 010-64095157
Ministry of Justice.  Wang Lixian, Director of General Office.  Tel: 010-65206706
Henan Province.  Lu Wuwe, General Secretary of Provincial People’s Government.

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Read the “Decision Statement on Abolishment” of the Chinese House Church Alliance.Read a Christian Broadcast News report on this story.

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