October 13, 2010
BEIJING — On October 12, 2010, Dr. Fan Yafeng, a prominent human rights lawyer and the leader of the Chinese Christian Legal Defense Association (which defends religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law) was harassed by Beijing police officers while on his way to share a meal with a friend.
Earlier in the day, Sheriff Yang of Shuang Yu Shu station and the Communist Party Committee Secretary responsible for the station went to Dr. Fan’s home and warned him not to accept interviews from foreign journalists about the events surrounding the Lausanne Congress. (The congress is scheduled for October 16 through 25 in Cape Town, South Africa. Chinese officials have been stopping underground Christians from attending by blocking them at the airport and confiscating their visas and passports; read more about the events here and here.)
Since Dr. Fan had an already scheduled interview with National Public Radio (NPR), he respectfully declined the sheriff’s request. He told the representatives of Shuang Yu Shu station that he was willing to be detained or arrested for speaking the truth about the recent persecution of house church Christians invited to the Lausanne Congress.
Sheriff Yang then sent about 20 police officers to stop Dr. Fan from leaving his home. Since he could not leave to be interviewed in person, he accepted a phone interview from NPR instead.
Some time after the interview was conducted, human rights lawyer Teng Biao invited Dr. Fan to dinner. Dr. Fan told the police who were stopping him from leaving his apartment that he was only going to dinner with a colleague. The officers agreed to drive him to the restaurant. On the way, the driver turned the car back to the direction of Dr. Fan’s apartment, so Dr. Fan tried to escape the vehicle. Two officers jumped out and restrained him, and Sheriff Yang violently pushed him into the car again, injuring his thumb, and he was driven home.
ChinaAid proudly supports Dr. Fan Yafeng during this ordeal. He has kept good composure under pressure and respected the police. We ask Chinese officials to in turn respect Dr. Fan’s rights as a citizen and those house church Christian’s religious rights to attend the Lausanne Congress.