Written in English by Brynne Lawrence.
(Jinhua, Zhejiang—Dec. 10, 2015) Authorities in China’s coastal Zhejiang recently dismissed the lawyers representing pastors Bao Guohua and Xing Wenxiang and their son, Deacon Bao Chenxing, who were detained on July 26.
Bao Chenxing was taken into custody with Wang Zhaojun when authorities intercepted them on the stairwell of Bao Chenxing’s apartment complex as they were returning home from an early morning church service, a letter written by Wang said. They were forced from the 11th floor of the building into the basement, where officials handcuffed them and covered their heads. From there, authorities took Bao Chenxing to Shuanglong Police Station, and Wang Zhaojun was taken to Bailongqiao Police Station, where he was interrogated and received cruel treatment that resulted in hospitalization. Wang was released on July 27.
Bao Chenxing’s parents were also detained on July 26. Family members hired lawyers to represent the Bao Chenxing, Bao Guohua and Xing Wenxiang. However, the newly-formed Jinhua Municipal Temporary Christian Church Management Group ordered that the lawyers be dismissed and that families only commission government-approved attorneys.
On Oct. 20, Bao Chenxing’s mother, Xing Wenxiang, sent two letters from prison, calling on her loved ones to hire a lawyer for Bao Guohua, who an anonymous Christian says has been under arrest for several months.
The Jinhua Daily, a government-backed newspaper, published a front-page article defaming Bao Guohua, even though his case is still in the investigation stage and the court has not formally declared him guilty.
The letters can be read in their entirety below.
China Aid exposes abuses of religious freedom, such as those experienced by the Bao family and Holy Love Church.
[Editor’s Note: Punctuation in the following letters has been edited for clarity.]
|(Photo: China Aid)|
Bao Guohua and I are detained in the Jinhua Municipal Detention Center. Now there is one thing urgently needing your son’s help—if your son is out of town, call your daughter for help—hire a lawyer in Jinhua for me. Please work it out, even if you can’t borrow money. About lawyers, please check online to find whoever is better and cheaper, or you can go to the Jinhua Law Firm. If Bao Guohua doesn’t have a lawyer either, please help find one for him, too. Please try your best to contact [a lawyer] as soon as possible!
Also kindly ask your daughter to send me some money at the post office, the address is: Jinhua City Detention Center, No. 66.
I can only trust you to take care of our mother. I hope you treat her well. There might not be opportunity for me to take care of our mother in my lifetime; this is the pain in my heart. Tell mom I haven’t visited her for such a long time because we are travelling far away and can’t come back for years. Tell her not to worry about us.
Later, if I have a chance, I will repay you! Everything is on you!!
Oct. 20, 2015
Dear Bao Guoying:
|(Photo: China Aid)|
Peace in God!
Bao Guohua and I are detained in the Jinhua Municipal Detention Center, and we deeply miss you
every day. Now, I do not know if you have hired a lawyer for Bao Guohua. If not, you must help to hire a lawyer. I sincerely urge you to hire him a lawyer in Jinhua. As for which lawyer is better and cheaper, ask your son to go online, or you can go to Jinhua Law Firm to look. After receiving this urgent letter, seize every minute to help us by finding a lawyer. I beg you!
If I have a chance in the future, I will repay you! My clothes need not be sent; I have some to wear.
Oct. 20, 2015
On July 26, 2015, when Bao Chenxing and I left our church’s early service, I sent Bao Chenxing home.
When we got to his residence, the stairs were blocked. A dozen unidentified police officers intercepted us, and two came from the hall and forced us down the stairs from the 11th floor to the underground garage. While they forced us down the stairs, we requested that they show their identification and asked them to tell us why they apprehended us, neither of which they did. Bao Chenxing was hit, and several people pushed him. After we arrived at the garage, they forced Bao Chenxing and I into handcuffs and [placed] bags [over our heads]. It was around 10 a.m. when they took Bao Chenxing away by car. I was placed in another car and taken to the Shuanglong Police Station.
After receiving a phone call, they took me to Bailongqiao Town Police Station. They searched my body and put my bag in a locker; then, they took me into the interrogation room. It was around noon. They asked if Bao Chenxing and I knew Chen Zhonghua. I said I did.
Q: How long have you known him?
A: I do not remember.
Q: You picked him up?
Q: Has anyone asked you to pick him up?
A: No, I did so on my own.
Q: How many times did you pick him up?
At this point, there were several problems. Because [I] was extremely weak, I did not eat my lunch. I asked the officers to raise the temperature and told them I was uncomfortable.
At this time, police officers came holding a summons notification for me to sign. I refused to do this, asking why they treated me like a criminal.
They said their reasoning is confidential, and a police officer named Chen adjusted the temperature to 19 degrees Celsius [66 degrees Fahrenheit]. I said I was uncomfortably cold and wanted to see a doctor.
They replied that I was crazy, and they were not cold. When I began having stomach cramps, they said they would contact their superiors to see if I could go to the hospital.
The cramps got so uncomfortable that I started shaking, and, at this point, they let the Bailongqiao [town] ambulance take me to the hospital. It was probably past 3 p.m.
The doctors gave me an IV drip and recommended that I go to Jinhua Central Hospital to be examined for potassium deficiency. I had the IV until past 11 p.m. I asked if I could stay in the hospital overnight to be observed, but the two men forced me back into the car and returned me to Bailongqiao Town Police Station. At around 12 p.m., the interrogation continued, but the interrogator changed.
I was asked whether I [wanted] a defense lawyer. I said yes. Menacing words were used in the inquiry process, and they threatened to take my son away and said that I had no right to inquire about the process. Finally, I requested that the [following] three details be documented in the records as written evidence: “First of all, you took me away in handcuffs while wearing a bag [over my head]; second, I asked four times before being taken to see a doctor; third, I came to the police station without my personal bag. If the items in my bag have been moved, or you have illegally moved my possessions, I will not sign.”
In the end, I didn’t sign it, because the first and third details were not recorded as part of the case’s proceedings. I emphasized that I had the right to view a printed copy to ensure that my three points were on it. I confirmed [that my details weren’t included] and changed it [to include those details], but I didn’t sign it. I was released at 4 p.m. on July 27. I did not pay the medical expenses, because I got sick in the police station. I have not yet received the medical record.