Christian Shoe Factory in Wenzhou Destroyed After Owners Refuse to Build Buddhist Temple

December 4, 2009

ZHEJIANG–On Monday, November 23, Shao Wangui and his brother, leaders of a local house church in Wenzhou, were arbitrarily detained without warrant. They were released from detention on November 30th, marking a brief reprieve from local persecution. The Shao brothers’ company factory, Xinba Shoes Co. Ltd., had been destroyed in September, for their refusal to contribute to a Buddhist building project.

Shao Wangui and his brother have operated the Xinba Shoes Co. Ltd factory in Xianyan County, Wenzhou City, for many years. The Shao Brothers grew up in a Christian family and became Christians when they were young. Their whole family put great effort in running the family business, Xinba Shoes Co. Ltd. The business earned a good reputation for ethical business practices, and made good profits over the years. The conflict with local authorities began in August, 2009, when the two Christian brothers refused to pay a fee that would support the building of a Buddhist Temple in the middle of their village.

Villagers had come to the brothers’ factory to confront them and to insist that they donate to their cause. Because they believed the action would conflict with their faith, Shao Wangui and his brother refused to do so. As a house church leader, Shao Wangui further asked his church members not to donate money for the project, as he believed it would be sacrilegious to have a Buddhist temple built on the way to the church. The Christians in Yanxian Village agreed and refused to worship idols to donate money for the Buddhist temple construction.

When he heard this, the Yanxian Village Committee secretary became furious about the church’s demonstrative acts of “obeying God, not men,” and he began plotting with local officials to persecute the Shao brothers. The secretary spread vicious rumors against the Christians and instigated general mistrust and mistreatment of the known Christians in the community.

On September 11th 2009, local police and a few unknown “vandals” destroyed the Xinba shoes factory. Thousands of dollars worth of property and equipment were damaged or lost in the factory’s demolition. One of the factory partners was injured and then illegally detained at the local police station for over 48 hours.The Shao Brothers were injured and sent to the hospital.

The brothers found it impossible to justify themselves to the local authorities, so they went to Beijing and appealed for help, protesting in the Tiananmen Square. They wished to draw the attention of the Wenzhou Chamber of Commerce so that their regular business operations and personal safety could be protected. Unfortunately, the government authorities not only refused to resolve the problems, but they further detained the Shao Brothers in prison. The brothers were released on November 30, 2009. Currently, the Shaos still have to face the hardship caused by the local governing officials who despise them.

The two brothers ask Christians from all over the world to pray for them and to call for the repentance of the local government. ChinaAid echos this cry of justice, and encourages the international community to voice their concerns to theappropriate Chinese authorities:

Contact Information:

Shao Xinzhong, Victim: 1-358-7-963-5519
Relatives of the Victims: 1-525-7-718-327 (Cell phone)
Director’s Office of Ouhai Bureau of Public Safety: 0577-8-859-6686; 8-950-9989
Secretary of Ouhai District Committee: 0577-8-852-5136
Police Office Hotline: 0577-8-531-1110
Chen Renyi, Secretary of Xianyan County: 135-8-796-5878
Government of Xianyan County: 0577-8-530-0720

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