China Aid Association
(GUANGDONG — December 18, 2008) On the morning of December 14, Beijing time, Liangren Church in Guangzhou city, Guangdong province was raided by more than 50 people from State Administration of Religious Affairs (SARA) and the Public Security Bureau (PSB) during a Sunday service. They issued a “Notice of Administrative Penalty” charging the house church Christians with organizing an illegal gathering. Officials demanded that the household gatherings be stopped. The following is a statement by the Christians of Liangren Church:
The true story about the religious persecution Liangren Church of Guangzhou
On the morning of December 14, 2008, Pastor Wang Dao, leader of Liangren Church in Guangzhou city, and more than 60 believers of the church were reading the Bible, praying, singing hymns and engaging in other activities for Sunday worship at Room 203, No. 11, North Yiyuan Road, Haizhu District of Guangzhou. Sometime after 10 a.m., government officials and about 50 police officers from the Guangzhou Branch of the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA), Haizhu District Bureau of Religion, neighborhood committees and other agencies arrived in 10 vehicles. After they surrounded the gathering site, they violently broke into our legally rented private residence without authorization. They used 9 or10 camcorders and other photographic equipment to take videos and photos. They also forced every believer at the site to register and restricted the personal freedom of the believers. They would not let the believers stand up, walk around or leave. They prevented believers from taking photos or audio recordings, etc. They also conducted interrogations of 10 or more believers separately, which lasted more than two hours. They found around 200 copies of books in the rooms; including the Bibles legally published by Amity Press of Nanjing and copies of “1050 Hymns.” and confiscated them. . After Pastor Wang Dao, head of Liangren Church, talked with them, they returned the Bibles and the hymnals, but confiscated a group of booklets and spiritual books.
Throughout the entire process of investigation, the law enforcement officers rudely disrupted the normal worshipping activities of the Christians and took compulsory measures on the persons and properties of the citizens such as registering their ID cards, taking photos and videos, imposing personal detention, searching every room and examining personal computers and seizing their property. They did not provide any legal documents. Empowered by their overwhelming number, they were so harsh and vicious in their manners that some seniors and children were frightened to tears. This seriously hurt the religious feelings of the majority of the religious people and damaged the image of the government in people’s hearts, which is contrary to the spirit of a harmonious society. In particular, this act seriously tramples their human rights and the law and violates the supreme law of the land—Article 36 of the Constitution, which endows the citizens of the People’s Republic of China the right of freedom of belief.
We are very sorry to learn that on the afternoon of the same day, the efforts of Pastor Wang Dao, leader of the church, failed to achieve any result after communication with the law enforcement officers. Haizhu District Bureau of Religion finally issued the “Decision Statement of Administrative Penalty, coded Hai Min Zong Fa Zi (2008) No. 1” and imposed an administrative penalty ordering Liangren Church to stop its activities. After meetings and discussions, Liangren Church of Guangzhou made this decision: We will absolutely not accept the decision of administrative penalty and will submit an application for administrative reconsideration to the agency at a higher level within 15 days as provided by the law. We are now hiring attorneys to draft a legal document. From now on, this church in Guangzhou has to take the road of defending the sacred right of freedom of belief endowed by God! We believe that God the Heavenly Father will stand on the side of righteousness! And He will redress the grievances!
Pastor Wang Dao, leader of Liangren Church of Guangzhou, was summoned to Chigang Police Station of Haizhu District for investigation from 7:30 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. This is the third time that Pastor Wang Dao has been summoned in 2008 to a police station in Guangzhou because of his faith.
We believe that the relevant law enforcement officers of Guangzhou government did not set an example of abiding by the laws of our country. They have given an example in breaking the law while they are supposed to enforce the law. When they treated the taxpayers and the law-abiding citizens of the Republic in such a rude manner, they greatly hurt the religious feelings of the majority of patriotic believers. This is evidence of the reality in China where there is a law, but no rule of law, and the freedom of religious belief cannot be implemented. We call on all Chinese citizens with conscience to show their grave concerns regarding this incident.
In the aftermath of the incident, what comforts us is the support we have received from our fellow members in Christ from many places. Some members put the news on their own initiative onto the Internet. Some members gave us copies through other people of “Booklets for Christians to Defend their Rights”. Many are praying sincerely for us. Some are trying to hire attorneys for us. Some have sent short messages to us. We are feeling the powerful force of God’s love and the concerted efforts of various churches. God says in the Bible: “No one can break a rope made of three strands.”
Liangren Church of Guangzhou was founded on July 17, 2005 after the “Home of College Students” in the college town of Guangzhou was searched and its possessions were confiscated. Since then, it has grown to its present size. It is a house church made up mainly of college students and young intellectuals. We have been adhering to the road of true “Three-Self” ideals — self-propagation, self-governance and self-support of house churches. We adhere to evangelicalism and are opposed to liberal theology. Little did we know that we would attract the attention of the public security agency after we sent co-workers to the disaster areas in Sichuan following the earthquake in May of this year. The public security agencies investigated us for three or four months, and finally we were raided.
Hallelujah! The Lord be thanked and praised!
1:16 a.m. on December 18, 2008
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