Photo: Wang Shunping, a Nu Christian, with his father (ChinaAid source)
(Nujiang, Yunnan province, China—May 15, 2023) On May 7, five Nu Christians were released on bail. They were arrested on charges of “organizing and funding illegal gatherings.” After everyone was released, they returned home safely and reunited with their families.
Several Christian attorneys worked tirelessly for the five Nu Christians. Lawyers Zhao Qingshan, Guo Haibo, Wen Yu, and Li Guisheng traveled hundreds of miles to Nujiang, Yunnan multiple time in the past year. They checked documents about the case and visited the imprisoned Christians. As a result of their efforts, the Nu Christians were released on bail.
Wang Shunping was one of the ethnic Nu Christians arrested. He served his church after graduating from Yunna Seminary and moving back to his hometown in 2014. Wang volunteered to teach music before the arrest, impacting many of his peers.
On August 17, 2022, local public security agents detained Wang Shunping for “organizing and sponsoring illegal gatherings.” Nu Sangdeng, another Christian, was detained on the same charge, along with San Luobo and two unidentified female Christians. They all were all detained at Fugong County Detention Center.
Wang Shunping’s defense lawyer met with him remotely on September 15, nearly a month after his criminal detention. During the visit, Wang did not talk much. He regarded his situation at the detention center as “alright” and said he was fine. In response to his arrest, Wang did not feel that it was illegal to attend and organize a Christian gathering. However, he was not certain if he broke laws by teaching underaged children the Bible.
Photo: The attorney visited Wang Shunping’s family (ChinaAid source)
Arguing for religious freedom
The attorney thinks that Wang’s role in the gatherings did not constitute an illegal rally according to Chinese law. Rather, the lawyer considers his client’s conduct as being protected by China’s Constitution. Despite the best arguments, prosecutors still confirmed the arrest of Wang Shunping and the other four Nu Christians.
Christianity in the region
British missionary James Outram Fraser spread Christianity among the Lisu ethnic group and Nu people in Nujiang Lisu Prefecture, Yunnan province. Historical documents have shown that communism was not introduced to China at the time Fraser brought Christianity to the Nujiang region. As a result of Fraser and many others, Christianity has become the dominant faith in the region for 100 years. 80% of Lisu people identify themselves as Christians.
~Yu Bing, ChinaAid Contributing Reporter