China Aid Association
|Believers at Shangnan County House Church take notes
during the “Faith and Law” seminar. (ChinaAid)
(Shangnan, Shaanxi—Oct. 28, 2013) A group of Christians from the Shangnan County House Church in the inland province of Shaanxi went to the Shangnan County Domestic Security Protection Department on Oct. 17 to demand answers about an illegal raid of one couple’s home last December.
In this raid, the Shangnan County Domestic Security Protection Department, led by Liu Jinjian, disregarded the law by refusing to show documentation, refusing to produce a list inventorying Lu Jiafeng and Zhu Jinlian’s confiscated possessions and refused to provide any information to the couple, only saying that the case was still under investigation.
The raid occurred when Lu was away from the home. Domestic Security officers entered the home, prying open doors and locks and scaling fences, and handcuffed Zhu. When her husband returned home to find their possessions missing, Zhu said officers told her the raid was because the couple believed in an evil cult.
Believers from the church felt empowered to contact the Domestic Security Protection Department after attending a seminar, called “Faith and Law,” hosted by the church. The church, though financially stricken, found a way to bring in a pastor who is knowledgeable in the laws regarding worship and religion in to teach the seminar.
Because of the church’s lengthy history of persecution by the local Bureau of Religious Affairs and Domestic Security Protection Department and the church members’ desire to live their lives as Christians without fear, church members attended the 10-hour-long seminar where they sat on the floor and ate two meals, which both consisted of only a bowl of soup and two steamed buns.
After the pastor finished the seminar, church members reported feeling greatly encouraged: “We have never before heard of such options. Now we have confidence – not fear. We do not violate the law by believing in Jesus Christ. It’s only they [the officials] who say we have violated the law. We should go out and revive the church. Thank God for bringing this pastor to us.”
When the group arrived at the Domestic Security building, they found that Liu Jinjian was no longer in a position of power. He had been replaced by Wang Xuliang. The group asked four questions of the new Shangnan County Domestic Security Protection Department leader:
1. What evidence did the Domestic Security Protection Department have that Lu and Zhu belonged to a cult?
2. Is it legal for a government entity to search one’s home without showing identification or following legal procedures?
3. Can Domestic Security Protection officers break into a person’s home and confiscate belongings without the head of the household present?
4. Can officers willfully arrest a person, search a home, or beat a person without legal basis or criminal evidence?
While Wang did not answer any of the questions at the time, he promised to report the incident to the Domestic Security Protection Department director, according to church members.
Believers from Shangnan County House Church have been persecuted since the church was founded in the 1980s due to the rapid increase in membership. Church members reported that host families’ homes are often searched and that believers have been detained, sent to labor camps and imprisoned. Because of this persecution, the church was forced underground.
ChinaAid believes that other house churches should follow the example set by Shangnan County House Church and educate believers in their religious rights and common sense law.
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