China Aid Association
CAA learned five American Church leaders were arrested in Luoyang City and Yichuan City, Henan Province by the PSB of Luoyang City on August 15. According to reliable collaborated sources, four American church leaders including one couple and 27 Chinese House Church pastors were arrested at a location nearby a mall at Luoyang City at 9 am while celebrating Christian fellowship together. Another American along with Chinese Pastor Wan Dagan, were arrested at 1 pm by two plain-clothed secret agents while the two were walking on a street in Yichuan City, Henan Province. None of the names of the five Americans who are believed to belong to the same group of visitors are available. Their detention location is unknown. One man, Mr. Zhuo Tao, who used to work in the Chinese army, a nephew of Peter Xu, who is the founder of a Christian house church group known as Born Again Movement, was among those arrested.
2. Also, CAA learned from eyewitness reports that on August 13, ten more South China Church leaders were released after 43 were initially arrested including two American seminary students on August 2, in Hubei. Terrible torture was used against some of them including burning their arms with cigarettes and puncturing their wrists with needles. One woman, Lian Tonggui, was striped of her pants and beaten until bloody with a specially designed sharp bamboo stick. She is still in extreme pain. The two still remaining in jail are Ms. Gu Junqing – 38 years old, and sister Ren Daoyun 60 years old. Ms. Gu was recently transferred to her hometown at Tanghe County Detention Center, Henan Povince. Ms. Ren was the hostess of that gathering in Zaoyang City, Hubei Province. According to several eyewitnesses she was beaten repeatedly and passed out several times.
3. At 9 am August 11, a Sunday school teacher’s training class was raided at Xiping Xinjian Village, Xiaogang Town, Dongxiang County, Jiangxi Province. Approximately 20 PSB and 8 police vehicles surrounded the church building where 35 high-school and university students and some church leaders were meeting. When the police began taking money from the pockets of the believers and packing church property to their vehicles, several older women asked for receipts. That is when the beatings started. All the believers were arrested and most of them were not released until 8 pm. So far 6 have received sentences for criminal detention and are waiting further prosecution. They are: Ms. Xu Meifang, Ms. Zhao Jie, Ms. Zhang Shuming (host family), Mr. Wu Jiewang, Mr. Zhu Guanzhu and Mr. Zhu Xiaochun. Another leader Ms. Xu Chahua, 42-year-old was arrested the morning of August 15.
4. Other arrests involving abuse of women happened in Xinjiang. At 11 am, August 7, during Sunday worship service, a House Church in Hejing County, Xinjiang was raided. About 30 Christians were arrested and more than ten Christian women were stripped and paraded in front of the others. The women who refused to take off their clothes were beaten severely. One woman attempted to commit suicide by beating her head against the wall because of this extreme humiliation. More than 20 police vehicles surrounded the church. Three church leaders Mr. Song Jun, Mr. He Jiangwei and Ms. Liang Fanglan, are still being held incommunicado. The Domestic Security Protection Squad of Hejing County PSB, Mr. Ma Yi and Ms. Deng Ping and another police officer, badge ID number 131277, were involved in the interrogation and torture and abuse.
5. From June to August, in at least four towns including Lizhuang Town, Xuzhai Town, Qiaogou Town, and Fenggang Town in Gushi County, Henan Province, according to CAA’s field reporters, approximately 400 to 500 believers were arrested including pastor Huang Congju, pastor Fan Zhgang and pastor Ding Xuezhi. They belong to 15 house churches. They were accused of “anti-society, anti-TSPM” because they left their corrupt government sanctioned Three-Self Patriotic Movement organization and declared their independence in 2003. All of them were released after paying heavy fines from 2000 to 5000 RMB.
Recently CAA received secret documents from City of Datong, Shanxi Province and City of Shayang, Hubei Province, detailing China’s systematic program of discrimination against religious “cults.” These documents, prepared by The Offices of the Leadership Group to Prevent and Handle Cultic Activities of the Chinese Communist Party (610 Office), were found in a brief report dated January 23 (Datong City) and 28 (Shayang City) 2005, which broadly defines religious cults in such a way as to leave open further acts of religious violations by the Government.
These documents outline training session instructions for grassroots cadres regarding “policies on preventing and handling cults which operate in the name of religion.” Included in the anti-cult study materials are several quotes by socialist thinkers, like Frederick Engels who remarked that those “seeking spiritual comfort€¦ are naturally slaves.”
The Office of Leadership Group’s documents defines a religious cult in three ways. First, God is a performer of “miracles”; second, such organizations are similar to clandestine organizations like gangs and mafia societies; third, cults propagate evil teachings which are anti-science, anti-civilization, and anti-society. Due to the vagueness of the documents’ definition of “cults,” the enforcement of such policies will infringe upon what little religious freedom believers in China already possess.
These documents make specific reference to the Falun Gong, describing such a “cult” as waiting to “unite with other hostile forces, such as the democratic movement and Taiwan independence movement.”
The Shayang county document indicates the Chinese government has purposefully engaged in a targeted campaign against other unregistered religious groups besides Falun Gong. The document specifically instructs local news agencies to avoid reports about crackdowns on other groups except Falun Gong. “While anti-cult training and lectures are conducted, names of other evil cults, except “Falun Gong,” shall not be publicized in any propaganda material, media, or websites by any news agencies,” the document said.
The two documents in both Chinese and English are published on the latest issue of CAA quarterly journal Chinese law and Religion Monitor.
Lastly, included in the document are nine points of the “Obligation Contract on Honoring Science and Opposing Cults.” The obligations include “honoring science and not cults,” a 2000 Yuan fine for participation in cults, and a “spiritual and material reward for boycotting and reporting cultic activities.”
“China’s violations of international religious and diplomatic covenants, to which they are a signatory, must cease. Religious groups which already have limited fundamental rights will be deemed a “cult” at any time and loose what legitimacy they previous held.” Bob Fu said, “China’s blatant disregard for the fundamental rights of religious believers raises questions as to China’s commitment to the rule of law and greatly weakens its moral authority.” CAA urges the commissioners from US Commission on International Religious Freedom to use their current meetings with Chinese senior officials to raise these cases and demand immediate release of these religious prisoners and thorough investigation on the torture allegations.
Issued by China Aid Association on August 17, 2005
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