China Aid Association
Mr. Zhang Yinan, a famous church historian, was sentenced to two years of reeducation through labor in 2003. His case draws the attention of the international community. The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention of the United Nations recently concluded that, “The deprivation of liberty of Mr. Zhang Yi Nan is arbitrary, as being in contravention of Articles 9, 19 and 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and falls within categories II and III of the applicable categories to the consideration of the cases submitted to the Working Group.”
Mr. Zhang Yinan’s Case
OPINION No 24/2004 (PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA)
Communication addressed to the Government on 7 April 2004
Concerning: Mr. Zhang Yi Nan
The State has signed but not yet ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
1. The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention was established by resolution 1991/42 of the Commission on Human Rights. The mandate of the Working Group was clarified by resolution 1997/50 and extended by resolution 2003/31. Acting in accordance with its methods of work, the Working Group forwarded to the Government the abovementioned communication.
2. The Working Group conveys its appreciation to the Government for having forwarded the requisite information in good time.
3. The Working Group regards deprivation of liberty as arbitrary in the following cases:
I. When it manifestly cannot be justified on any legal basis (such as continued detention after the sentence has been served or despite an applicable amnesty act) (Category I);
II. When the deprivation of liberty is the result of a judgment or sentence for the exercise of the rights and freedoms proclaimed in articles 7, 13, 14, 18, 19, 20 and 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and also, in respect of States parties, by articles 12, 18, 19, 21, 22, 25, 26 and 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Category II);
III. When the complete or partial non?observance of the relevant international standards set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the relevant international instruments accepted by the States concerned relating to the right to a fair trial is of such gravity as to confer on the deprivation of liberty, of whatever kind, an arbitrary character (Category III),
4. In the light of the allegations made the Working Group welcomes the cooperation of the Government. The Working Group transmitted the reply provided by the Government to the source and received its comments,
5. The Working Group believes that it is in a position to render an opinion on the facts and circumstances of the case, in the context of the allegations made and the response of the Government thereto, as well as of the observations by the source.,
6. The source informed the Working Group of the detention of Mr. Zhang Yi Nan, a Chinese citizen, born on 2 November 1957, a writer mad leading historian of unofficial House Church central Henan Province.
7. According to the information received, Christian House Churches choose not to register with the State?sponsored Three?Self Patriotic Movement Churches. Mr. Zhang Yi Nan played a central role in the unity movement which brought together four of the largest unofficial House Churches. He authored a United Appeal to the official Three?Self Patriotic Movement Churches on behalf of four of the largest unofficial churches in the country as well as writing entitled “The Unity Movement’s Joint Confession of Faith of House Churches in China,” two documents which were a catalyst in the national unification of House Churches. The “Joint Confession” explains reasons why the House Churches feel compelled to remain underground.
8. Mr. Zhang was arrested on 26 September 2003 at 9.00 a.m. at his home by police officers of the Public Security Bureau (PSB) who did not show an arrest warrant. Later that day, neighbors observed that officers from PSB searched Mr. Zhang’s house and confiscated his computer and books. On 11 October 2003, he was charged with “conspiracy to subvert the national Government and the socialist order,” according to Article 105 of the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China of 1997.
9. Mr. Zhang was found guilty of having drafted, on 2 October 1999, a document entitled “The Christian Constitution” that proposed to establish a federal government that integrated religion to govern China and overthrow the Communist Party and the current Government. He denied these charges. He was also found guilty of having distributed, in August 2003, the articles “Where Does China Go?” “Christ is the Only Way” and “The Decrees of Christian House Churches in Henan,” among other allegedly anti?Communist Party and anti?Socialist writings.
10. On 3 November 2003, the Re?education Through Labor Commission of Pingding Shan City, Lushan County, Henan Province, issued its verdict No (2003) 203 sentencing Mr. Zhang to two?years of reeducation through labor, according to the Temporary Law of Reeducation Through Labor, Article 10, item I and Article 13. The sentence was reportedly adopted without a previous trial or an adversarial proceeding. The Reeducation through Labor Commission held a single hearing before deciding the sentence, it was reported that during this hearing, Mr. Zhang was not allowed to have a lawyer, to rebut the Commission’s evidence, or to present evidence in his own defense. The Reeducation through Labor Commission based its sentence solely upon the above?mentioned writings confiscated at his home.
11. According to the source, the Reeducation through Labor Commission disregarded international norms relating to a fair trial. Mr. Zhang was sentenced without trial; he was arrested without a warrant; he was detained without charges for 15 days; and he was denied access to a lawyer and to his family for 15 days.
12. The source considers that Mr. Zhang has been arrested and imprisoned for exercising his fundamental rights to freedom of opinion and expression, religious belief and peaceful association. His punishment has been motivated for his Christian beliefs and activities. The source goes to point out that Mr. Zhang continues to be singled out for his faith by prison guards in the reeducation through labor camp.
13. The source points out that Mr. Zhang does not have any anti?Government or antisocialist thought or speech and does not advocate against the Government of the People’s Republic of China, Regrettably, the Reducation through Labor Commission has taken his articles and writings out of context and distorted his ideas which are based on the spiritual principles which lead his Church.
14. The Government’s reply to the source’s allegations informing that:
(a) Zhang Yinan, male, age 46, from Henan Province; On 5 September 2003 the Public Security organs in Pingding Shan City, Henan Province, arrested him pursuant to Article 61 of the Criminal Procedure Law for illegally possessing many classified State documents. On 31 October 2003, the Reeducation through Labor Committee, of the Pingding Shan Municipal People’s Government assigned Zhang to two years’ reeducation through labor under Article 10, paragraph 1, of the Experimental Methods of Reeducation through Labor.
(b) Citizens have freedom of speech under the Chinese Constitution, but in exercising their rights and freedoms, they must not harm the interests or security of the State. Even the Universal Declaration of Human Rights clearly states that, when exercising their rights and freedoms, people are subject to the restrictions prescribed by law. The coercive measures taken by the Chinese law?enforcement authorities against Mr. Zhang were all based on his suspected violation of Chinese law and have nothing to do with freedom of speech and opinion.
(c) In the course of dealing with this case, the Chinese law?enforcement authorities abided strictly by legal procedure. China was one of the first States to become a party to the United Nations Convention against Torture, and prohibiting torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment has been the Chinese Governments constant policy. The Chinese Penal Code and Police Act, among other laws, contain exceptionally strict provisions on the prohibition of torture with a view to preventing and punishing the practice of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, or punishment by State employees, law?enforcement personnel in particular, and protecting the legitimate rights and interests of detainees while in custody. During the handling of the present case, Zhang’s legal rights have been fully guaranteed; there is no question of his having been tortured.
15. According to the source, the Chinese Government’s response does not contest any of the facts set forth in its initial petition and insist on the facts that Mr. Zhang was:
(a) Arrested without a warrant.
(b) Detained without charges and sentenced without trial by the Re?education Commission to two years of reeducation through labor.
(c) He was not allowed to appoint a lawyer, to challenge the basis of the Commission’s charges against him, or to present any evidence in his own defense prior to being sentenced.
16. The source concludes that Mr. Zhang was arrested, sentenced, and punished solely on basis of the Government’s opposition to some of his Christian writings in which he expressed his religious belief in Christianity and his support for the theological independence of China’s Christian House Churches.
17. As stated by the source, the Government in its response has not denied that Mr., Zhang was arrested and detained without charges, was not provided with a lawyer, was denied access to his family and finally was sentenced to two years in reeducation through labor camp.
18. The Working Group noted, but is not convinced by the arguments of the Government, that the detention of Mr. Zhang Yi Nan is not arbitrary, because of the decision to commit him to an RTL facility; the relevant laws have been respected.
19. The Working Group points out first that the Government did not refute the allegation of the source that Mr. Zhang Yi Nan has abstained, during all along his activities, from any form of violence. Second, the system of reeducation through labor, as regulated under Chinese law, shows plenty of common features with criminal law sanctions. The administrative decision to place someone in an RTL facility is tantamount to blaming him with actions, which are between error and crime. The acts, for which human rights was committed to RTL shed a negative light on his personality. And last but not least reeducation through labor involves deprivation of liberty, a feature typical to criminal law sanctions.
20. On that basis Mr. Zhang Yi Nan ought to have enjoyed, during the administrative procedure ending up by an unfavorable decision for him, all the due process safeguards provided by international law and standards, including to being able to argue his case before a tribunal. Instead, he was committed to RTL after a summary procedure before an administrative organ obviously lacking the elements of the requisite independence and impartiality.
21. Moreover, the Working Group takes into account that the reasons stated by the Government for which the administrative authority decided the confinement of Mr. Zhang in a reeducation through labor camp are only the peaceful exercise of his freedom of expression, a right recognized in articles 19 and 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in articles 18 and 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which prevent him to be deprived of his liberty under this only reason.
22. The forced confinement in a reeducation through labor camp, ordered by an administrative authority and without the relevant judicial control through a trial with all the necessary guarantees is not in conformity with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
23. In light of the foregoing, the Working Group renders the following opinion:
The deprivation of liberty of Mr. Zhang Yi Nan is arbitrary, as being in contravention of Articles 9, 19 and 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and falls within categories II and III of the applicable categories to the consideration of the cases submitted to the Working Group.
24. Consequent upon the opinion rendered, the Working Group requests the Government to take the necessary steps to remedy the situation, and bring it in conformity with the standards and principles set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to study the possibility of ratifying the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Adopted 26 November 2004
February 20th, 2004
Ping Ding Shan Court
May God bless you!
Following the example of the Apostle Paul, in the Book of Acts of the Holy Bible, who was brought before the justice court of the Roman magistracy under King Herod, expounding the faith of Christians, I, hereby, before the Honorable Magistrate, am attempting to state my faith and the argue my case.
1) Number 206 (2003) of Ping Lao Guan Zi—the “Decision Notice to Re-education through Labor”, is in violation of the civil rights of religious freedom and an open denial of the basic ethos of World Christianity.
“Holy to the Lord” is the core faith of Bible. It is often inscribed in church buildings. The scripture comes from Exodus and the book of Zechariah. It states the solemnness and holiness of God. Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the savior of the whole humanity. Therefore, “Holy to the Lord”, and “Jesus, the Lord and Savior” is the foundation of the Christian Faith. It should not be put under the category of “criminal facts”. No civil servants of any country should blaspheme the God of Jehovah as it is the common sense of the international society. It is hoped that both the police and the Committee of Re-education through Labor will pay proper respect to the Faith of Christianity, and will not do anything that may render the blasphemy of the Christian God. The improper wordings of the law code that arouse immense reactions from the Christian countries should be rectified.
In the book of Matthew of Holy Bible, the 18th verse of chapter 28, Jesus told his disciples that all the authority in heaven and on earth has been given to him and he ordered his disciples to preach the gospel to the end of the world.
In the book of Ephesians, chapter one says that when the times will have reached their fulfillment, all things in heaven and earth will be brought together under one head that is Jesus Christ. In the book of Revelation, chapter 11, it is said that the kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and the dwelling of God is with men.
In the past 20 years, along side with the open reform, it is widely known that nearly 20,000,000 books of Bibles are publicly printed in China. Bible is the world’s largest volume of book being distributed so far. The above quoted scripture is often the content of pastors’ messages. Christianity is the world’s largest religion, about 2000 years of history, 220 countries and districts have churches, believers comprise about 2 billions of people. The hope that Christians hold never gives the meaning of overthrowing any government of any country. There is a great difference between the spiritual language and the secular political language.
The book of Ephesians in Bible, chapter 6 says put on the full armor of God to stand against the devil’s schemes. We are not to struggle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. In the book of Isaiah chapter 13, the book of Ezekiel chapter 1, and the book of Joel say that God has counted his army and is ready to enter war. All these are spiritual language, and should not be understood as the real world army. Christians are often called “Christ’s soldiers.”
Christians believe that there is a spiritual world beyond this material world. But for the atheists, spiritual world does not exist, everything in world are categorized into the material world. This result in misunderstanding the spiritual language of Christianity and the two has become antagonistic. In the Ming and Qing Dynasties, there were church court cases that led to international conflict, due to the misinterpretation of church language by the Chinese Feudal officials. For example, a man who used to ride a bicycle but later got rich he started to drive a Santana limousine, so we describe his change as “from a shot-gun to a cannon.” This is just an analogy and should not be interpreted as the substantial reality.
Christian pastors are accustomed to using analogy in preaching. In terms of legal interpretation, analogy and substantial reality are not to be mixed up with each other. A looks like B, does not mean that A is equal to B.
2) In September 1997, I read the German theologian, John Andrews’ “City of Christ”, published by Commercial Press (Green Cover). Before that, I had studied at the social science department of the Nanjing University of Science and Technology. I have studied political science and western philosophies including Fourier, St. Simon, and Weiterley’s Christian political thinking, the officials call it “Utopian Socialism” which gives the birth of communism. In 1620, the British Puritans crossed the Atlantic reaching the land of America to seek for religious freedom, and they concluded a covenant hoping to build an ideal Christian society. After that Rev. John Winthrop designed a mild Christian political entity at the North American colony. Deng Xiaoping’s early English secretary, Pu Huaren had published “Redeem the country through Christianity” booklets at Shanghai’s St. John University, which had been re-printed for several times, and had been widely distributed in the republican society at that time.
I had also been interested in the French Renaissance thinker, Rousseau’s “Social Contract” and Montesquieu’s “Spirits of Law”. The concept of “Separation of Powers”—the check and balance of powers– was put forward by him. Now two hundred years have passed, I feel that both the Western and Eastern political entities have their own deficiencies. The radical Islamic force has imposed a serious threat upon the culture of Christianity. And, sex, violence, greed, family crisis, and the corruption of human mind are ever increasing daily. Therefore, I am worrying about the future survival and development of our society. Reading the book of Andrews’ the City of Christ, my heart was inspired, and the sparks of ideals could not be contained. Why are there so many brilliant and great political thinkers and theologians from American-European countries, whereas in the Chinese history of political thinking, there is only a pitiful few, as sighed by Gong Zi Zhen, “pitiful to see ten thousand horses went gloom”?
My soul seemed like flying high in the sky, flying beyond the horizon of the present political entities of East and West, my soul longed for an ideal political entity. At that moment, I was compelled by an irresistible urge to write. I found a small piece of paper, and wrote rapidly. Like Lu Ji, the literary man at the West Jin Dynasty once wrote, “ thoughts like the wind blow through the chest, and words spring out from mouth that only a speedy writing can dispense the vigorous drive.” Also like what the poet Su Shi said, ” Not at full speed chasing insights to compose a poem, hard to delineate when the scenes get pass.”
I finished writing the “Christian Constitution” in “one breath”, and then put it into the book-shelf. I did not realize it would cause serious problem. I did what one Chinese proverb says, “make a cart behind a closed door and leave it there.” With time passing by, I have forgotten its concrete content.
As a pastor, the congregations I have preached are largely farmers and they hardly know anything about politics. They accept the Christian faith for peace, and for the resurrection of body after death to enter heaven. Therefore, I have never talked with anybody about this subject and have never shown to anyone the “Christian Constitution” written on the small piece of paper.
3) The content of the prayers of Christians to God should not be used as the evidence charged by atheists. Atheists do not believe the existence of God. What Christians pray to God in private should be protected by the civil right of privacy, and should not be made accountable to law. Christians pray in spiritual language, and should not be interpreted as the same meaning of the material world. For example, “destroy” and “binding”, do not refer to activities involved using real weapons, but it refers to the activities in the spiritual realm.
Pastors bind the evil spirit by the name of Jesus Christ, does not mean that they are really using real rope to bind the spiritual “thing”. Knife cannot cut water as ropes cannot bind the electric wave of the Henan Radio Station. The spiritual realm, electronic signals and radio wave are invisible, and cannot be touched. The content of Prayer that never made public should not be made accountable to law.
It is hoped that your magistracy and the police officers will separate the visions in Bible—that is the spiritual picture, from the substantial entity in the material realm.
The book of Kings in Bible describes the prophet Elijah has seen the chariots of fire and horses of fire, in the book of Ezekiel, the prophet saw wheels intersecting wheels, and some people interpret it as UFO, and the Falungong practitioners interpret it as “Falun”. And all these render serious misinterpretations.
In the book of Revelation, it describes Apostle John saw four horses in Patmos: white, black, red and gray in color at war, and a fine cutting-edge sword coming out from the mouth of Jesus. All these are spiritual pictures.
The Manifesto of Communism states that workers do not have their own home country; the aim of communist party is to eradicate capitalist system. Karl Marx and Engels publicly urged to overthrow the capitalist system. In 1848, the Manifesto of Communism was promulgated. At that time the British government did not put them into prison. Nowadays, the Manifesto of Communism is distributed in over a hundred capitalist countries, and has never been charged with the crime of overthrowing government.
During the Republican period, Pu Huaren and his colleagues wrote papers for promoting redeeming the country through Christianity, and drafted a Christian China blueprint and had it printed and publicly distributed. The Kuomingtang authority did not charge them of anti-Three People’s Principles and the crime of overthrowing the republican government.
One hundred years passed, now in my case, the only reader of the “Constitution” written by me, is myself only. Then, how can it be constituted as the crime of overthrowing the present government? Our constitution grants us the freedom of speech and thinking. Are our civil rights at a lower level than those in both the British and Republic government in China?
From 1912 until now, our Republic, does your civil right increase or decrease? Our Republic, has your mind been widened or narrowed? Our Republic, please demonstrate your disposition as a great nation as the Permanent Member of the Security Council!
I urge you to stand at the crest of history; stand under the banner of centuries’ great men and women who fight for the system that secure freedom, democracy, and human rights; stand alongside with the open reform and the stream that heads towards the advanced culture, to adjudicate this special case that involves the interest of house churches and will influence the relationship between politics and religion in a fair and justice way.
4) About the “Henan Province Christian House Church Creeds”, it is mainly used to resist heretical cults, and help the brothers and sisters at farming villages to distinguish from the Eastern Lightening, Falungong and so on; and help them adhere to the legitimate faith. It has no intention at all to oppose the government.
The creed also contains the stipulations to respect Kings, submit to governing authorities, advocate science, oppose feudalism and superstitions, keep social stability and uphold public moral.
When the police filed a charge against me, they did not point out anything in the creed which is in disaccord with the law. The articles in the computer are given by the brothers and sisters from overseas, then I download it into my file. I have never used it as propaganda. The “verdict” says that I have given it to Brother Xiao and the group. For me, I just let Brother Xiao read the “House Church Creed” in the 3.5 disc, and intend to exchange our beliefs, and I have not let him download to computer and indeed I have told him not to do so.
As for the testimonies of brothers and sisters, I collect them while I travel to preach at different places. Most of them are not written by me. I save them in computer, and prepare to discuss with publishing companies and to amend some of its contents. Due to the processing of censorship, it has not yet been put to print and promotion. It is all done within the perimeter of the freedom of press, and there is no unlawful act.
5) About the diary and the notes of anti-party speech, as a pastor, I am not living in a utopia. I travel around and preach, and hear many complaints from the mass. They are about the serious corruption in the society, the corruption of the grass root cadres. The common people are full of discontents and sometimes they even speak evil to the official. I am not immune to the social evil but I won’t let myself follow the tide because I want to keep my heart pure before the Lord and speak no evil but show proper respect to rulers. But sometimes due to the stirring up of emotions, privately I have written down something in intense language, but it is all in privacy.
Frankly speaking, since I believed in Jesus, my thinking has been becoming lesser and lesser radical for the secular world. The Lord Jesus teaches me not to hate; not to speak evil of others; to forgive, to love neighbor like myself, and even to love my enemy and not to fight against them. All the authorities and rulers are appointed by God to reward the good and punish the bad. The authority is established by God’s permission, so no one is capable of overthrowing it.
Throughout history, Christianity has always been the stabilizing power for the authority. Jesus Christ came to save people from sin so that we may act justly and love mercy. When some radical Jews were expecting Jesus to establish a Davidic dynasty and overthrow the Roman Empire, Jesus shunned them and went to a mountain. Later he was humbly crucified on the cross and bore the sin of many.
Since the open door policy and economic reform in China, Christianity has gained much development. Towards both the party and the reform policy, I am open and positive. I also give my support for entering the WTO—the World Trade Organization. I also advocate for the unity of the country, the advancement of modern society and the economic development. Indeed, I love hundreds of thousands of the souls of the party members. In my diary, I often criticize myself, and repent on my sins committed in the past.
Bible says all men have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Under God’s perfect standard, everyone is small. About the question of “sin”, for over a hundred years, the miscomprehension of its cause and understanding within the Chinese traditional culture has not been rectified.
Recent years, I have been advocating positive interaction, acceptance and forgiveness, establishing every possible communications channels to clarify the police’s misunderstanding towards Christian pastors, and particularly the “Bible language”.
Psalm 24 writes that the earth and everything in it, and all who live in it belong to God. Psalm 10 also writes that God’s throne is in heaven, and He rules over everything. When Christians recite these scriptures, they are in their faith and praise God. It has nothing to do with overthrowing the present authority.
Hatred poisons wisdom, and I am willing to forgive anyone. I also hope that the Administration and legislature branches will treat Christians with due respect in order to reach a positive interaction. Christians are motivated by love to bring reconciliation as to glorifying God and blessing man. We are not to hate any Party officials or the government. When there is neither hatred nor revenge, how can one seek to overthrow?
6) The Bible and the Apostles Creeds are the core beliefs of my faith. I have never taken a position at a particular denomination. I work cross-denominationally, keeping the centuries old orthodox faith, and following the Christian ethics and moral.
My participation in the work of the unity of church is to break down the theological divisions among different denominations so that there may no more denominational strife, misunderstandings and attacks. It’s also aimed to rectify the theological fallacy and extremes, thus resisting heresies and helping healthy development of churches.
The activities of unity are the internal linking and communication among churches. Based upon equality and honesty, the churches are making rectifications to complement with each other. There is no involvement with any unlawful acts. Moreover, it is still in an initial stage of communication. There are many rumors still waiting to be clarified.
7) Before ruling any religion as cult, there must be the provision of substantial facts, strict definition with precise concepts and contents. To worship man as God; create a new religion; advocate blind faith; coercively brainwash with false teaching, limit personal freedom, and involve in criminal activities are all the common characteristics of cults. In China, some house churches might have some errors in their theology, but through open communication they can be corrected. And thus, they should not be banned and judged as cult. Small, confined meetings for unity, communication and exchanges should not be viewed as organizational criminal activities.
8) Henan has been well known for being “old, bitter and backward”. Since the Anti-rightist movement in 1957 to the Culture Revolution, the radical leftists have launched severe persecution in Henan, particularly upon Christians. Its rigor in Henan surpassed all the other provinces. By local policy they impose immense hardship on Christian pastors, but in result, Christianity spread rapidly.
Since my imprisonment on Sep.25, some police officers have become more peaceful, open to reform, advance with the times and acquired the spirit of pursuing truth. However, there are divisions within the Party, too. They are divided into the left, central and right. I found that some officials adhere to radical left thinking. They are much different from those officials in the coastal cities. The radical left has labeled hundreds of thousands of Christians as enemy, which is contradictory to the spirit of safeguarding people’s civil rights and the rule of law of the modern city. They think they have a privileged status, often bragging about their special right backed up by the National Security Bureau; therefore they can do things under table. They violate citizen’s right of privacy by abusing the power of national secret. They arbitrarily send people to labor camps according to their own preference. They put the good and upright pastors into prison, engulfing the gap between the government and house churches. They also love to exaggerate their achievement by inflating problems to obtain an “outstanding” work outcome.
In fact, the Christian house church is a stabilizing force in the society and their high moral standard is well acknowledged by many.
9) With the consideration of the future legal rights of house churches, and the aim to clarify some misunderstanding due to the difference between Christian spiritual vocabulary and secular language, I hereby submit this appeal.
Righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a disgrace to any people. A fair and just adjudication from the Honorable Magistrate is therefore requested. I am appealing to the revocation of number 206 of the “Decision Notice to Re-education through Labor” in Ping Lao Guan Zi (2003). In accordance with the Christian spirit of loving neighbor as oneself, and the character of glorifying God and blessing man, I love all the officials who are working on this case, and I will seek no monetary compensation at all.
May God bless our honorable judges!
May God bless every one of you, the police officers in-charge of this case, and the Committee of Re-education through Labor!
Zhang Yi Nan
February 13, 2004
Attorney’ s Statement Concerning Zhang Yinan’ s
Administrative Lawsuit against the Committee on Re-education through Labor, the City of Pingdingshan
Honorable Chief Judge, and all judges presiding over the full court,
1. Beijing Zhongfu Law Firm, entrusted by Zhang Yinan, a resident of Lushan County, Henan Province, who does not agree with the Decision on Re-education through Labor issued by the Committee of Re-education through Labor of the City of Pingdingshan (No.  206), assigns Xu Ping as his attorney to file administrative lawsuit against this committee. The following statement is made for your reference.
As Zhang Yinan’ s attorney, I don’ t understand why the trial on his case cannot be open to the public.
Article 45 of Administrative Litigation Law stipulates that, administrative litigation cases, except ones involving the state secret, individual privacy, or unless there are different stipulations in the law, shall subject to public trial.
However, this court, after reviewing the case, decides not to conduct public trial, which make me confused.
It goes without doubt that, this case does not involve personal privacy. And what’ s more, Zhang Yinan himself does not request a non- open trial. Is the state secret then involved in this case?
The witnesses the defendant has offered to the court are mainly articles and diaries written by Zhang Yinan. Article 8 of Law on Keeping the State Secret, and article 4 of implementations on this law definitely define the scope of ” the state secret”. In our view, these articles and diaries by Zhang Yinan do not fall into this scope.
The legal function of administrative penalty and criminal punishment is designed not only to punish illegal activities, but also to educate and warn the potential law-breakers. Without public trial, the legal function of education and warning cannot be fulfilled. The case regarding the two counter-revolutionary groups of Lin Biao and Jiang Qing was not only tried, but televised live nationwide, which revealed all their crimes to the people. How come Zhang Yinan’ s personal diaries contains more state secrets than the materials used in charging the two counter- revolutionary groups?
2. Therefore, non-open trial lacks legal ground. I deeply regret it.
The Committee on Re-education through Labor, the defendant in this case, fails to provide the court with valid, true and sufficient evidence and legal ground to justify the charges against Zhang Yinan. And the procedures on sending Zhang Yinan to the labor camp are illegal.
According to article 32 of Administrative Litigation Law, the defendant shall be responsible for his physical administrative decisions, and shall provide evidences and standard documents to justify his decisions.
The defendant’ s argument and evidence( namely, the Notice on Re- education through Labor) indicate that, the final charge against Zhang Yinan is ” his attempt to subvert the government.” Article 105 of the Criminal Code defines this crime as, ” to organize, plot, and implement the subversion of the government and the socialist system €¦ ” Hence, in order to justify Zhang Yinan’ s re- education through labor, the defendant ought to prove that Zhang Yinan has such acts as ” organizing, plotting, subverting”, and provide corresponding legal grounds.
The main evidences the Committee provided to the court during the non- open trial to prove Zhang Yinan’ s attempt to topple the government are: (1) The Christ- Centered Constitution drafted by Zhang Yinan;(2) the written record and printout on Zhang Yinan’ s sharing with Xiao Dongfang his articles, Where Shall China Go — Trusting Christ Is the Only Way, and Henan House Church’ s Creed;(3) Zhang Yinan’ s journal.
The legal grounds given by the defendant in the Notice on Re- Education through Labor are Item 1, Article 10, Tentative Methods on Re- Education through Labor, and the State Council’ s Decisions on Re- Education through Labor.
First of all, Zhang Yinan’ s Christ- Centered Constitution and his journal cannot serve as valid evidences to prove he is guilty.
Both of these two evidences are Zhang Yinan’ s personal journals, in which he recorded his thoughts in written forms, or through electronic media. They represent his dreams about the ideal society, and his comments on the reality. No matter what contents might be there, these are his privacy, not physical conducts of ” organizing, plotting, and subverting”, and therefore cannot serve as evidences required by the litigation procedures. All current laws of our country refuse to convict somebody on the basis of his thoughts, and do not define personal writings, which are not published, as crimes.
Let me give you an example, which might not be appropriate, to illustrate this simple argument. Zhang San, due to personal reasons, hates Li Si, and writes in his journal ” someday I will kill Li Si.” Suppose Zhang San’ s journal is obtained by the police, can they say Zhang San is guilty? Of course, not. In terms of the law, even if Zhang San informs somebody else of his thought, so long as he does not conduct any physical actions, we can only say he has intention to commit a crime, and we cannot label Zhang San as a criminal.
Secondly, the Committee claims that, Where Shall China Go — Trusting Christ Is the Only Way, and Henan House Church’ s Creed are written and transmitted to Xiao Dongfang by Zhang Yinan.
Even if these two articles were written by Zhang Yinan, who allowed Xiao Dongfang to download the articles from his computer, it is the exchange of thought between Zhang and Xiao, and is personal correspondence, which is the secret shared by them, no matter what contents are contained. This is not physical conduct of ” organizing, plotting, and subverting”, which is detrimental to the society, and cannot serve as evidence.
There is no law in our country defining letter exchange as criminal conduct. In the history of our nation it is very rare to convict someone on the basis of his letter, except ” the letter prison” in Qing Dynasty and cultural catastrophe during the Cultural Revolution. Since 1980s, when our country starts to practice rule of law, there has been no more such cases. And we are firmly confident there will be no such case in the future.
Therefore, it is in violation of the law and legal theory that the defendant uses Zhang Yinan’ s Christ- Centered Constitution and other unpublished articles, his diaries and other written materials recording his personal thought, and personal letters to prove he is guilty.
Thirdly, it is about the issue of legal grounds.
The defendant only generally refers to the State Council’ s Decision on Re- Education through Labor. However, in accordance with article 32 of Administrative Litigation Law, the standard documents, upon which a certain administrative decision is based, refer to all concrete, definite, clearly illustrated, and articled laws and regulations. To justify the decision on Zhang Yinan’ s re- education through labor, the defendant, according to law, must explain which physical article of the State Council’ s Decision on Re- Education through Labor is cited in making the decision. It is meaningless to mention the State Council’ s Decision on Re- Education through Labor generally. As a matter of fact, the defendant has failed to explain which article is cited till the end of the trial.
The Decision on Re- Education through Labor refers to Item 1, Article 10 of the Tentative Methods on Re- Education through Labor, which stipulates that, ” Counter- revolution activists, anti- the Communist Party and anti- socialism activists, who commit slight crimes, and are not qualified for criminal punishment, shall be re- educated through labor.” That the defendant uses this as the legal ground to justify Zhang Yinan’ s re- education through labor reflects that Zhang Yinan is a counter- revolution, anti- the Communist Party, or anti- socialism activist who commits a slight crime, and subjects to no criminal punishment. Therefore, the Committee on Re-Education through Labor misapplies laws and regulations.
The law cited in the Tentative Methods on Re- Education through Labor, which was promulgated and put into effect on January 21,1982, refers to the Criminal Code of the People’ s Republic of China promulgated on July 6, 1979. The title of the first chapter of the second section of this Criminal Code is the crime of counter-revolution. Article 90, 98, 99 and 102 outline details of this crime. Item 1, article 10 of the Tentative Methods on Re-Education through Labor is based upon the Criminal Code promulgated in 1979.
On March 14,1997, the 8 th National People’ s Congress made significant revision to the Criminal Code. One of the remarkable progresses was to revoke the crime of counter-revolution. The new Criminal Code revoked article 90, 98, 99, 102 and all other article concerning the counter-revolution crime.
In accordance with the new Criminal Code, there are no such specific bodies as ” counter- revolution activists, anti- the Communist Party and anti- socialism activists, who commit slight crimes, and are not qualified for criminal punishment, shall be re- educated through labor.” Therefore, item 1, article 10 of the Tentative Methods on Re-education through Labor is no longer applicable. Otherwise, it will contradict its superior law.
In addition, the procedure, by which the defendant made the decision on re-education through labor, is illegal.
Article 12 of the Tentative Methods on Re- education through Labor stipulates, ” before making the decision on re- education through labor, the undertaking party shall make thorough investigation, seek the proposals of the concerned employer and the street office of the local government, report to the committee on re- education through labor for confirmation and approval, and then notice the party concerned and his family the legal grounds and term of re- education through labor. The one who is to be re- educated shall sign the notice on re- education through labor.” Therefore, the notice on re-education through labor shall be presented to, and signed by the party concerned.
However, the defendant failed to present the notice on re-education through labor to Zhang Yinan. The defendant recognized this both in his defending statement presented to the court( the last sentence of page 3 writeses, ” the notice on re- education through labor will not be sent to the party concerned and his family), and also in his in- court statement. In addition, the notice on re- education through labor has no Zhang Yinan’ s signature, and no record why Zhang Yinan refused to sign, which also indicates that the defendant did not present the notice to Zhang Yinan at all.
The defendant mentioned in the second line from the bottom of page 3 and during the trial that the definition on Zhang Yinan’ s conduct was made clear in the notice on re- education through labor, which was taken for granted not to present to Zhang Yinan. This is in flagrant violation of article 12 of the Tentative Methods on Re-education through Labor.
4. Therefore, the Committee on Re- education through Labor of the City of Pingdingshan, the defendant of this case provides neither valid, true and sufficient evidences nor correct legal grounds to justify the decision on Zhang Yinan’ s re- education through labor. And the procedure concerned is illegal.
According the Constitution, Zhang Yinan enjoys freedom of thinking and freedom of expression, including freedom of correspondence and freedom of speech. Zhang Yinan’ s recording his thought and expressing his thought through letters is to exercise the right to freedom of thinking and expression, not to violate the law and commit crimes.
Article 36 of the Constitution enshrines that, ” the citizens of the People’ s Republic of China enjoy freedom of religious belief.”
To recognize freedom of belief is to recognize freedom of thinking, which is the most fundamental and indigenous one of the mankind, and is subject to no deprivation.
Freedom of thinking is being recognized with the development of the human rational ability. Most of the nations in the world, including our nation, recognize and protect freedom of thinking. Many nations take it as people’ s fundamental right in their constitutions. It is widely recognized that, no one can impose his thought upon others. If some people should enjoy privileges to deprive others of their freedom of thinking, all people would lose their thoughts.
Without freedom of thinking, there would be no re-thinking about the Cultural Revolution, and no complete negation of this catastrophe. Without freedom of thinking, there would be no reform on economic system, and no a series of splendid achievements, and no great progress in reforming the judicial system. Without freedom of thinking, there would be no “one country, two systems”—an unprecedented design on government system.
Therefore, article 35 of the Constitution of our country stipulates, “Citizens of the People’s Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, and of demonstration.” And article 40 stipulates, “The freedom and privacy of correspondence of citizens of the People’s Republic of China are protected by law.”
Freedom of expressions, as the basic right of the people, shall be protected to large extent. The constitutional system recognizes that the people are entitled to stick to their own religious faith and political belief, and advocates to tolerate different opinions. The attitude towards the dissident shall be, “I firmly oppose your proposal, but respect your right to express your own idea.”
The reason why a just law has to recognize people’s rights to freedom of thinking and expressions is that the law can only discipline people’s external conducts, not internal spirit. Legal actions cannot be taken unless one’s internal spirit is translated into external conduct, which is in violation of law. In other words, when shall the law be cited to interfere with people’s thoughts? When they still exist in the form of words, or when they have been translated into actions, which hamper other people’s freedom, and damage the public interest? Most of the nations in the world choose the latter.
As Zhang Yinan’s attorney, we don’t identify with his personal ideal on future society. Some of his views, in our opinion, are absurd, and even run against the fundamental principle of modern civilization, such as the integration of church and state, repulsion for other religions, exclusion of other human civilization like Chinese Confucian culture. However, so long as his thought is not translated into concrete conducts that are detrimental to the society, his freedom of thinking and expression shall be protected by law. No one shall interfere, or label his recording and expressing his own thought as crimes.
Let me give you another example of vulgarity. There is a man who dreams to become a king, to live luxury lives, and to possess numerous wives, that everybody hails to him. And he records his dream and shares it with another person. Will the defendant accuse him of attempting to restore feudal kingship system, and sentence him to re-education through labor on the basis of his journal? If so, who is more absurd?
Judged from the perspective of orthodox value, a certain thought may be inappropriate, against the mainstream ideas, and even absurd. The existence of dissidents is indicative of political tolerance and democracy, which make a society more harmonious, open, magnanimous, and self-confident. In such an environment, people have no worry about “the letter prison”, and may live easy, free and sincere lives, thus complementing each other, harmonizing each other, and creating spacious room of subsistence and development for everyone. And this is nuclear to our self-confident, easy, happy lives and immunization for terror.
We are very glad to learn that the Central Committee of the CPC proposed 14 amendments to the Constitution, among which the seventh proposal is to add an item to article 33, namely, “the state respects and protects human rights.” It is a cornerstone in the legal development of our country to protect human rights in the name of the Constitution.
The human right is a universal concept. Our government has recognized and signed many related international covenants, such as Universal Declaration on Human Rights, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Then let us remember the following:
The preamble of Universal Declaration on Human Rights, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly, states that, “Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,
Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,
Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law.”
Article 18 of Universal Declaration on Human Rights enshrines, “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”
Article 19 of Universal Declaration on Human Rights enshrines, “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
Honorable Chief Judge, and all judges presiding over the full court,
On the basis of above analysis, we think that it is not allowed by law for the Committee on Re-education through Labor of the City of Pingdingshan to convict Zhang Yinan and detain him in the form of re-education through labor just because he had thoughts different from the mainstream, recorded these thoughts, and expressed them through correspondence.
In light of our unswerving belief in the Constitution, human rights, and continuous progress of mankind, we sincerely request you to make such a judgment out of reason and justice: Like others, Zhang Yinan’s “conducts” might violate the law, which requires hard evidences. As a matter of fact, his thoughts, recording of these thoughts, and expressing these thoughts through correspondence are all legal. He has freedom to do so, no matter what the content of his thoughts might be. And no one can impose punishment upon him. Therefore, in accordance with 1st, 2nd and 3rd point, item 2, article 54, Administrative Litigation Law, the decision on Zhang Yinan’s re-education through labor shall be revoked.
Thank you for listening with patience to my lengthy statement.
Attorney at Law
Beijing Zhongfu Law Firm
December 22, 2003
Administrative Response to the People’s Court of Xinhua District
Responsive Party: the Committee on Re-education through Labor, the City of Pingdingshan
Legal Person: Yan Hongxin
Attorney: Fan Yueqin, the Office of Examination and Approval of Re-education through Labor, the Public Security Bureau, the City of Pingdingshan
Attorney: Li Haitao, the Taskforce of National Security, the Public Security Bureau, the County of Lushan
On December 17, 2003, the responsive party received the letter of appeal against the Committee on Re-education through Labor of the City of Pingdingsha filed by Zhang Yinan. The following response is hereby made:
1. Facts about the case and its handling procedures
On October 2, 1999, Zhang Yinan put forward in his Christ-Centered Constitution that a government, with church and state integrated, which will take Jehovah as Holy, and Jesus as Savior, and practice three-chambered system, namely, “the Chamber of Prophetic Prayer”, “the Chamber of Church-State”, “the Chamber of Specialist Advice”, shall be established to manage political, economic, social, military, educational, cultural, and diplomatic affairs, attempting to overthrow the party and state government.
In August, 2003, Zhang Yinan shared “Where Shall China Go—Trusting Christ is the Only Way”, “Henan House Church Creed, and other articles he wrote with Xiao Dongfang.
Such anti-Communist Party and anti-socialism words as “praying for our country, asking the Lord to turn over China, demolish the strong fort of China, and dismantle the atheist Party and other organizations, and launching spiritual war in the name of Jesus, the Lord”, were written in Zhang Yinan’ journal.
On September 27, 2003, the Taskforce of National Security of the Public Security Bureau of Lushan put Zhang Yinan, who was suspicious to sabotage the law enforcement in the name of cultic organization, under house arrest. On October 2, 2003, he was arrested under the charge of subverting the state government. On the basis of investigation and evidence, the PSB of Lushan County proposed to sentence Zhang Yinan to two years’ re-education through labor on October 24, 2003. And on October 27, 2003, the Committee on Re-education through Labor of the City of Pingdingshan approved this proposal. On November 1, 2003, Officer Fan Guo and Xu Dongxu of the Taskforce of National Security of the PSB of Lushan County, on behalf of the Committee on Re-education through Labor of Pingdingshan, sent the Decision on Re-education through Labor to Zhang Yinan, who refused to sign it. This could be proved by Du Yongming and Wu Hongyu. On the same day, the two officers sent the Decision to Zhang Yinan’s family, and his wife Ding Guizhen refused to sign it, which could be proved by Zhang Hongjie and Guo Jianquan. On December 3, 2003, the Taskforce of National Security of the PSB of Lushan County sent Zhang Yinan to Pingdingshan Bailou Labor Camp for re-education.
2. Response to the appeal of the plaintiff
A. The plaintiff claims that, the three charges identified in the Decision on Re-education through Labor are actually records and expression of his Christian thought, which, no matter right or wrong, are not criminal conducts. But we think the plaintiff flagrantly distorts the facts in order to plead innocent.
In fact, On October 2, 1999, Zhang Yinan put forward in his Christ-Centered Constitution that a government, with church and state integrated, which will take Jehovah as Holy, and Jesus as Savior, and practice three-chambered system, namely, “the Chamber of Prophetic Prayer”, “the Chamber of Church-State”, “the Chamber of Specialist Advice”, shall be established to manage political, economic, social, military, educational, cultural, and diplomatic affairs. Such anti-Communist Party and anti-socialism words as “praying for our country, asking the Lord to turn over China, demolish the strong fort of China, and dismantle the atheist Party and other organizations, and launching spiritual war in the name of Jesus, the Lord”, were written in Zhang Yinan’ journal. His purpose is to overthrow the leadership of the Communist Party, the proletarian dictatorship, and the state government.
And in August, 2003, Zhang Yinan shared “Where Shall China Go—Trusting Christ is the Only Way”, “Henan House Church Creed, and other articles he wrote with Xiao Dongfang.
The above-mentioned facts are supported by the plaintiff’s statement, witness’ evidence, and written appraisal, and cannot be negated by anyone.
B. The plaintiff claims that, the defendant fails to point out which item or article of the criminal laws of our country his certain conduct is in violation of. We think this reflects the plaintiff’s misunderstanding and ignorance of the law.
If a suspect’s conduct violates the law, a certain punishment will be given to him in accordance with the Criminal Code. The Committee on Re-education through Labor sentences the plaintiff to re-education through labor according to the related laws and regulations. It is impossible to sentence someone to re-education through labor by citing the Criminal Code. In addition, the Decision on Re-education through Labor does not mention the essence of the plaintiff’s “conducts”. But this is the standard format of this kind of document. The essence of the plaintiff’s conducts is only mentioned in the Notice on Re-education through Labor, which is not sent either to the plaintiff or his family.
On the basis of the above statement, we think there exist clear facts and sufficient evidence in sentencing the plaintiff to two years’ re-education through labor, and the relevant procedures are legal. Therefore, we request the People’ Court of Xinhua District will leave our decision on Zhang Yinan’s two-year re-education through labor unchanged.
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