March 11, 2010
HENAN–On the morning of March 11th, Christian human rights attorney Wu Chenglian opened up the legal training session with a word of prayer. More than 30 house church pastors from the Henan Fangcheng Seminary gathered in the meeting room to study the law and learn how to equip churches in defending their religious rights. In the mid-morning, thirty police officers from the Fangcheng County’s Religious Affairs Bureau and Public Security branches barged into the church building where they were meeting, surrounded the group, and demanded the church leaders show their identification cards. They then attempted to register each individual’s identification records without warrant, but the church leaders refused to comply. The officers then confiscated all Biblical and legal training materials, also seizing personal items including cell phones and wallets. They held all thirty pastors for interrogation, refusing even to let them cook lunch (at 12:35 PM) in the house kitchen.
At 1:00 PM, the PSB and RAB officers released twenty of the pastors, leaving ten under the careful watch of the guard. Wu Chenglian was ushered from the house at 2:30 PM and forcefully escorted to a Xinda Hotel in Fangcheng County. She was interrogated for nearly three hours before being released at 5:00 PM to return home. Later in the evening, the PSB office called Wu to come back to the office to pick up a list of all the confiscated items from the raid.
Wu Chenglian has taken on many high profile religious defense cases throughout her career, and has been closely monitored by the government for her precedent-setting legal work. She currently works as a legal analyst and contributor to the Holy Mountain Institute in Beijing. This raid on her legal counsel session and sequential interrogation is just the latest in the series of attacks on human rights defenders and, in particular, the Holy Mountain Institute, this month.
This past Saturday, prominent Holy Mountain Institute researcher Dr. Fan Yafeng was detained for over nine hours and interrogated regarding his work. On Tuesday, ChinaAid received word that another Holy Mountain Institute researcher, Dai Jinbo, was detained and interrogated by Public Security officers in Beijing. Dai Jinbo joined five other Chinese legal defenders in October 2009 in testifying before the U.S. Congress against the Chinese Government’s brutal treatment of human rights lawyers and their clients.
ChinaAid denounces the unjust treatment of Chinese legal scholars and house church pastors, and calls on the Chinese government to recognize house churches as legitimate religious institutions, according to the law. We encourage the international community to pray for the continued legal efforts of defenders, like Wu Chenglian, who risk their lives and careers to equip churches with the means to defend their basic human rights.
To call for justice for human rights scholars and their defendants, send a message to the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C.:
The Chinese Ambassador
3505 International Place, NW, Washington, D.C. 20008
Tel: (202) 495-2000
Fax: (202) 588-9760
Email: [email protected]
Henan Police Interrogate Pastors to Disrupt Church Legal Training