China Aid Association
On June 25, government officials broke into a factory where a group of 22 Christians was practicing hymns. Of the believers, four were with their children and one woman was pregnant; they were immediately released. Several were held under administrative detention while the remainder of the group was placed under criminal detention. At this time, it is unclear how many believers are criminally detained, with reports ranging from seven to 10.
“The lawyers have met with [Zhao Weiling]. They said they have submitted the application for bail pending trial, but the police have not yet decided,” Liu Cuiping, Zhao’s wife, said.
“We have applied for bail pending trial and submitted our legal opinion that what the believers did does not constitute a crime. So far, we have not got any response,” said Yue Jinfu, the lawyer representing Zhang Huiyu. “As far as I know, several lawyers have applied.”
Many lawyers have refuted claims that their clients are cult members based on information provided to them by the detainees.
“They say the client was utilizing a cult… This is not true according to what we have learned,” Yue said. “Their [church] is a normal Christian house church were they only pray and sing hymns.”
“I personally think that the work unit handling the case is ignorant, so much as that they incriminate the people of faith and the people who make them uncomfortable,” Lawyer Qi Hongwei, one of Su Quangang’s attorneys, said. “In this way, they can gain some political benefits for themselves. Without having studied deeply the doctrines of the religion, they randomly put the label of cult on the people in an attempt to incriminate them. I think this is wrong.”
“They say [Tang Ru] is a member of the Total Scope Church, but they don’t know what characteristics the Total Scope Church possesses,” Tang’s lawyer Liu Shuqing said. “I searched the phrase and found the Total Scope Church has another nickname, called ‘crying for rebirth.’ However, according to what we have learned, [the believers] don’t have this characteristic as they never cry. They only pray silently.” The Total Scope Church is more commonly referred to as the Born Again Movement, which the Chinese government has labeled as a cult.
Meanwhile, authorities have yet to issue a detention notice to the families of all the detained believers. “The police have not issued a notice,” said Wei Shuangmei, wife of Su Quangang. “When we went to deliver some clothes to him at the detention center, I heard from a guard that those who have been sent to the detention center are all under criminal detention.
“I have also made some inquiries at the county’s Domestic Security Protection Squad and asked them why they had not issued a detention notice. They said the notice cannot fail to be issued, but I said I had not received it.” Wei said.
“I have also mentioned this to the police,” Qi Hongwei said of the missing detention notice. “I said to them that such conduct is not allowed in the law.”
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Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
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