By Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service
(HUBEI, CHINA (ANS) – December 16, 2008) Four Christians are missing and many more have been persecuted in Hubei province during the month of November 2008 according to the South China Church house church network.
ChinaAid recently received a detailed report from South China Church leaders detailing the arrests, beatings and disappearances of Christians in their house churches in Jingmen city and Xiangfan city areas.
According to church leaders, the four missing believers include: Mr. Yi Peng, Mr. Zhu Yongping, Ms. Wang Ke and one other Christian man. They were all last seen being forcibly taken away by Bureau of State Security officials in separate incidents at the beginning of November. None have been heard from since.
Other Christians have been beaten publically by plainclothes officials; their Bibles, personal property and money taken. In one incident on November 1, house church Christians Li Duojia, Qiu Xiangying and one other Christian were getting ready to get on a train at Jingmen Train Station, when they were beaten by seven or eight plainclothes officials from the Bureau of State Security and investigation team on the train platform. They were handcuffed and detained at a hotel across the street. The authorities took away their Bibles, saying: “We persecute you, confiscate your Bibles and our purpose is not to allow you to believe in Jesus. . This persecution of you is to thoroughly destroy your church, get rid of the missionaries and disband you believers.” During the interrogation, authorities grabbed the Christians by the hair and took photos of them by force from all sides, and then forcibly took prints of their hands and the soles of their feet.
South China Church contacts stated, “Many missionaries and believers are so chased that they cannot go back to their own homes, till their fields, take care of their parents or raise their own children. . We also call on peace-loving people of righteousness from all walks of life to show their concern for South China Church and Chinese believers being persecuted by the authorities.”
Full Report by South China Church About Persecution Occurring in November 2008
ChinaAid says Christians from South China Church, for whom Christian churches, peace-loving people and all circles within the international community have shown so much concern, have once again been persecuted and arrested by the relevant authorities in Jingmen city and Xiangfan city areas in Hubei province during November 2008.
ChinaAid says that on November 1, 2008, as Brother Yi Peng, a missionary from South China Church, was visiting a sick believer in Jingmen city when he was arrested by authorities from the Bureau of State Security. He has not been heard from since.
ChinaAid also says that on November 1, 2008, as missionaries Li Duojia, Qiu Xiangying and one other person from South China Church were getting ready to get on a train, they were hit to the ground by seven or eight plainclothes officials from the Bureau of State Security and an investigation team, on the platform. Their hands were handcuffed behind their back. They were taken and detained at a hotel across the street from Jingmen Train Station where they were kicked and punched. The authorities also took away the Bibles the missionaries were carrying with them, saying: “We persecute you and confiscate your Bibles; our purpose is not to allow you to believe in Jesus.” They also said: “Except the TSPM [Three-Self Patriotic Movement], all other organizations that believe in Jesus Christ are cults. Your South China Church has long been determined as a cult. This persecution of you is to thoroughly destroy your church, get rid of the missionaries and disband you believers.” During the interrogation when Li Duojia and others kept sile nt, the people from the Bureau of State Security said: “Your practice may work in Hong Kong, but not in China.” Saying so, they grabbed them by the hair and forcibly took photos of them from all sides; forced them to press their fingerprints from all 10 fingers; made prints of their palms and prints of the soles of their feet.
ChinaAid reports that on November 2, 2008, Brother Zhu Yongping, a missionary from South China Church, was struck to the ground by the plainclothes officials from the Bureau of State Security on a street in Jingmen city and taken away. He has not been heard since. As the missionary, Sister Wang Ke, was going to a restroom in the house of a believer, people from the Bureau of State Security climbed to the second floor and broke through the door into the room, broke into the restroom and took her away. She has not been heard from since then.
ChinaAid further reports that on November 2, 2008, as Sister Xue, a missionary from South China Church, was passing by Jingmen Railroad Station, she was taken to Dongshan Hotel by several plainclothes officials from the Bureau of State Security. Another young sister was also taken to Dongshan Hotel by the people from the Bureau of State Security while she was walking in the street. Detained in Dongshan Hotel, were also other missionaries and believers from South China Church.
At 2 or 3 o’clock on November 2, 2008, as missionaries from South China Church: Tang Mengyu, Deng Xiaolin, and believer Deng Yuanzhi and other two people were taking a rest in the house of a believer in Xiangfan, people from the Bureau of State Security suddenly broke in, turned everything in the house upside down, took them away and detained them at Nanhu Hotel where they beat up the victims. They also forcibly took photos of the detained missionaries and the believers, got fingerprints from them and forced them to write statements of guarantees not to believe in the Lord anymore.
In another development, ChinaAid says it has also learned that the sister of Pastor Gong Shengliang was on her way home after bringing her daughter-in-law, who was expecting a baby, to Jingmen Hospital for an examination. While she was in the restroom in Jingmen Railroad Station, a man and a woman from the Bureau of State Security broke into the restroom and took her to Dongshan Hotel where they handcuffed her; searched her body; took photos of her; seized her ID and some cash in the amount of more than 1,000 yuan which was left over from the examination payment. On November 3, they placed her under supervised residence on the charge of “undermining the security of the state.” On the night of the 4th, they covered her head with dark cloth and transferred her to Nanhu Hotel in Xiangfan. Meanwhile, during the night of November 2, four plainclothes agents from the Bureau of State Security came to the place where Pastor Gong Shengliang’s brother-in-law lives. They turned everything upside down in the house and seized the deposit boo k for the family’s business account. The family sells grains and works a human-powered rickshaw to earn money to support and care for their pregnant daughter-in-law. The agents also froze the account and seized the daughter-in-law’s ID. They took Pastor Gong’s brother-in-law to the Bureau of State Security. He has not been heard from since.
ChinaAid states that presently, missionaries and believers in house churches in China could be arrested at any time. Many missionaries and believers are so chased that they cannot go back to their own homes, till their fields, take care of their parents or raise their own children.
“We call on all Christian churches to work together to show their concern on the plight of the churches in China and South China Church that are being persecuted. We also call on peace-loving people of righteousness from all walks of life to show their concern for South China Church and Chinese believers being persecuted by the authorities.
“We feel so sorry and so miserable that the Chinese government is once again arresting and detaining religious believers on a large scale. We call on the relevant Chinese authorities to stop immediately the persecution of Chinese Christians and immediately release the missionaries and believers from South China Church and also Christians arrested in other parts of China!”
China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
Email: [email protected]