Radio Free Asia – April 12, 2011Translated by China Aid Association
Two house church leaders in Huaxian, Shaanxi Province and Fanxian, Henan Province were harassed by police. When the former attempted to prevent the police from disturbing an assembly, the police hit him with an electric baton and the brother went into a coma on the spot. He is currently still under treatment in the hospital. And police blocked up the entrance to the latter’s home with bricks again, so he and his family could not enter or exit their home.
Photo: Pastor Wang Zhanhu was hit by a police baton and went into a coma. (Photograph provided by Wang’s family and evidence collected by reporter Qiao Long.)
After an internet campaign to provoke a “Jasmine Revolution” peaceful protest in China, the jittery authority had heightened the pressure they exerted upon house churches. In an interview with Radio Free Asia on Tuesday, the president of the Chinese House Church Alliance, Pastor Zhang Ming, told us that a leader from Cross Church in Huaxian of Shaanxi Province was beaten up by the police last week:
Wang Zhanhu from Huaxian, Shaanxi Province was beaten up. The police hit Brother Wang to the ground and he is still lying in the hospital. He was simply being a good Christian, singing praise hymns and preaching the gospel, but the Bureau of Religious Affairs and the Public Security Bureau sent the police to hit his hands and head with an electric baton. Now that they have injured him so badly, they turn a blind eye to what happened to him. Because of what they did, Brother Wang is still in the hospital.
Radio Free Asia directly contacted Pastor Wang Zhanhu, and asked him what exactly happened when he was beaten up. He said:
On April 7, some of us who believe in Jesus were singing songs to praise our God Almighty. Then three plainclothes police officers came to us and grasped a sister’s hand—this sister goes to our church—and snatched her microphone away. So I walked up to them and said, “How can you rob people’s belongings like this?” Upon my words, these three police officers asked me for my Identification Card. I told them, “I didn’t break any law by walking on the street.” One police officer from the National Security Brigade started hitting my shoulders with his hand. Suddenly some other police officer hit my chest with his fist. And it was followed by a shock from a electric baton and I fell to the ground immediately and went into a coma.
Up till this moment, Wang is still under treatment in a local hospital. When he received the phone interview from Radio Free Asia, he just finished a ultrasonic inspection. He recalled that the police hid the electric baton in his sleeve and suddenly hit him with it. He said:
The electric baton was hidden in that police officer’s sleeve. This is what I recall. I held my cellphone, wanting to dial 110 to call the police for what they did to me. (This was after they started beating me and before I lost my consciousness. Then they took my cellphone from me.) I asked them twice to give my cellphone back to me, but they wouldn’t do it. A passerby saw that I was seriously beaten up and called 110 to have the emergency ambulance take me to the hospital. (They kept beating me up) and the police saw that I looked like I was dead so they escaped from the crime scene.
Wang said that the police had previously continuously raided his home:
From 2005 to 2008, the police presence forced me to travel from home. They continuously raided my home and threatened me. In 2005, I was detained for 15 days and upon my release the police asked me for a deposit of 3,000 RMB. That police officer told me, “if you don’t commit any criminal activity in one year, we can return the deposit to you.”
However, the deposit was never returned.
House churches in Henan Province also experienced recent crackdowns from the authorities. Pastor Zhang said:
Senior Pastor Zhang Tielin from Fanxian of Henan Province is a leader of the church and is in charge of the sacrifice altar. The local police and government had persecuted him. Half a year ago, the government had his neighbors block his entrance door with bricks so that nobody could enter or exit his home.
Pastor Zhang told us that Brother Zhang Tielin paid multiple trips to Beijing to petition. After each petition, the authorities had people tear down the brick walls in front of his door. But just few days ago, his door was blocked by bricks again. Pastor Zhang said:
Brother Zhang went to Beijing to petition for human rights. After the police arrested him, Beijing ordered Henan Province to tear down the brick wall in front of his door. However a few days ago at a meeting, he told us when he returned home in Henan, he saw that the local government and police had his neighbors to block his door with bricks again.
On Sunday, one of Beijing’s biggest Christian house churches, Beijing Shouwang Church, had an outdoor assembly but was dissipated by the police. One hundred brethren were interrogated by the police. Some believers said they were just worshiping God in the open air, and their gathering had nothing to do with “Jasmine Revolution.” Later, another believer published an open letter online to appeal Christians from all over the world to pray for and watch Shouwang Church and pay attention to freedom to worship in China.
Interviews and report by Qiao Long, reporter for Radio Free Asia