|A family portrait shows Cheng Jie with her husband, Du
Hongbo, and the couple’s two sons. (Photo from Du Hongbo)
China Aid Association
(Liuzhou, Guangxi—Nov. 19, 2014) Four Christians from China’s southern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and neighboring Guangdong, who were detained in February and June, will soon go to court for their joint case, which was filed at the Liuzhou Municipal People’s Court on Nov. 9.
On Feb. 18, 2014, the Liuzhou Public Security Bureau went to the Hualin Foreign Language Experimental Kindergarten, founded by the Liangren House Church of Guangzhou, Guangdong, and detained two women: Cheng Jie, the kindergarten’s director, and Mo Xiliu, a teacher who was also responsible tracking logistics at the school. The two were placed under criminal detention the next day for “engaging in illegal business operations.” Mo was later released on bail.
The lawyers representing the two women determined on Feb. 19, 2014, that the charges against them were baseless. Authorities claimed that the women were engaging in illegal business because of a textbook on character education that the school had compiled. Officials alleged that the women used the textbook for profit while, in reality, the textbook was used by students at the school who had to pay no extra fees for its use. Additionally, use of the textbook was approved and even desired by students’ parents.
Then, on the night of June 23, 2014, officers from the Liuzhou Domestic Security Protection Squad forced their way into the homes of Li Jiatao, the wife of a Liangren Church missionary, and Huang Quirui, a Liangren Church elder, both of whom live in Guangdong. Both were charged with “engaging in illegal business operations” and have been criminally detained since. Another man, Fang Bin, who printed the books for the kindergarten, was also detained on June 23.
“The case has been transferred to the court, and the procuratorate has sent the indictment to the court,” Cheng Jie’s lawyer, Ge Wenxiu, said. “Normally, the court opens the case about one month after it is filed.”
“We will certainly defend [Cheng’s] innocence. First, these books were not for public distribution. They are textbooks for internal use. Second, pursuant to Article 225 of the Criminal Law of China, people engaging in illegal business operations must have intent to profit. So far, there is no evidence whatsoever that Cheng Jie earned any profit,” Ge said. Ge added that the case is “actually one of religious persecution.”
“The Liuzhou police accused Cheng Jie and others of selling illegal publications. The textbooks don’t contain ideological content, and, therefore, are very popular. This made Liuzhou authorities very angry. The compiler of the textbooks is Sun Haiping, who is the wife of Pastor Wang “Joshua” Dao, who led Liangren Church [before moving to the United States],” Li Jiatao’s lawyer, Sui Muqing, said.
All four of the detainees cases with be handled together, according to Cheng’s husband, Du Hongbo, who leads the Liuzhou house church planted by Liangren Church. Additionally, Cheng’s case was sent back to the Liuzhou Public Security Bureau for reinvestigation twice due to insufficient evidence.
The kindergarten received a notice, below, on Aug. 8, 2014, stating that those in charge were disqualified from running the kindergarten because the curriculum was based on religious principles.
1. Violation of Article 7 of the State Council’s “Regulation on Religious Affairs:” Article 7 of the “Regulation on Religious Affairs” states, “Publications involving religious contents shall comply with the provisions of the Regulations on Publication Administration.” Hualin Foreign Language Experimental Kindergarten in Yufeng District, Liuzhou, uses 47 types of teaching materials that involve Christian content, e.g. textbooks, cards and hanging diagrams. Upon examination by the Liuzhou Municipal Bureau’s News Publication division, these materials are confirmed to be illegal publications.
2. Violation of Article 12 of the State Council’s “Regulation on Religious Affairs:” Article 12 of the “Regulation on Religious Affairs” states, “Collective religious activities of religious citizens shall, in general, be held at registered sites for religious activities, i.e., Buddhist monasteries, Taoist temples, mosques, churches and other fixed premises for religious activities, organized by the sites for religious activities or religious bodies, and presided over by religious personnel or other persons who are qualified under the prescriptions of the religion concerned, and the process of such activities shall be in compliance with religious doctrines and canons.” However, the collective religious activities of religious people in Hualin Foreign Language Experimental Kindergarten in Yufeng District of Liuzhou were all held inside the kindergarten.
3. Violation of Article 39 of the State Council’s “Regulation on Religious Affairs:” Article 39 of the “Regulation on Religious Affairs” states, “Where anyone compels citizens to believe in, or not to believe in, any religion, or interferes with the normal religious activities conducted by a religious body or a site for religious activities, the religious affairs department shall order it to make corrections. If such act constitutes a violation of public security, it shall be given an administrative penalty by public security according to law.
Where anyone infringes upon the lawful rights and interests of a religious body, a site for religious activities, or a religious citizen, it shall assume civil liability according to law; if a crime is constituted, it shall be investigated for criminal liability according to law.” When Hualin Foreign Language Experimental Kindergarten in Yufeng District, Liuzhou, conducted Christian education on the children, they were compelling the citizens to believe in a religion.
4. Violation of Article 40 of the State Council’s “Regulation on Religious Affairs:” Article 40 of the “Regulation on Religious Affairs” states, “Where anyone makes use of religion to engage in illegal activities such as endangering state or public security, infringing upon citizens’ right of the person and democratic rights, obstructing the administration of public order, or encroaching upon public or private property, and a crime is thus constituted, it shall be investigated for criminal liability according to law. If no crime is constituted, the relevant competent department shall give an administrative penalty according to law. If any loss is caused to a citizen, legal person, or any other organization, [the offending party] shall assume civil liability according to law.”
According to our preliminary conclusion, the conduct of Hualin Foreign Language Experimental Kindergarten in Yufeng District, Liuzhou, was utilizing an educational site to conduct illegal proselytizing.
Yufeng District Religious Affairs Bureau
July 30, 2014
Seal: Religious Affairs Bureau of the Yufeng District People’s Government