Fushan government officials tried to buy Linfen Church leaders silence with a false promise to pay 1.4 million yuan in damages.
October 15, 2009
SHANXI–ChinaAid recently attained a photocopy of the Mediation and Negotiation Settlement Fushan government leaders signed on September 19, 2009–promising to pay Linfen Christian Church 1.4 million yuan in reparations for their attack on September 13th. The negotiations and promise were a deceptive ploy to delay Linfen Church leaders from bringing their complaints against local authorities to their governing superiors in the State capital. This tactic was exposed when Fushan officials arrested Pastor Wang Xiaoguang and his wife Pastor Yang Rongli, along with six other leaders on September 23, who were en route to petition Beijing. View the Signed Settlement, 9/19.
Mediation and Settlement of the Fushan, Zhang Zhuang, Nanhan Village
Gospel Cloth Shoes Factory Incident
September 19, 2009
After mediating between the two sides, an agreement was reached as follows:
The loss of Gospel Cloth Shoes Factory (including factory building damage, food, clothing, cash and the expense on the injured and the villagers who offered help) in total is 1,400,000 RMB. If no special occasion demands, the financial compensation should be paid by tomorrow.
Linfen City Committee and People’s Government: Xu Jingsui [Signed]
Linfen House church Representative: Yang Rongli [Signed]
This blatant lie is only one strand in the cord of manipulation the local government has tried to wrap around Linfen Church in the last month.
An anonymous Linfen Church member confessed in an interview that she believes the Fushan government has been aiding dissident factions within the church, who have tried to use the government to take over the church in their leaders’ absence.
“..We heard Zhang Tuilian and some other who have left the church have attempted to take over the church. They have been negotiating with the government to lead the Erqu church. They used to be members of the church. Recently, they had conflict with the other church members and decided to leave…”
“An old brother in the church once handed me a booklet, which listed faults of Sister Rongli and other church leaders. I told the brother not to accept or deliver those materials from them. ..They even put “God is love” on the booklets. They published these booklets under the name of “a group of conscious Christians”. I assume the government got copies too. They seize the opportunity to get what they want.”
When asked about conditions in the church, she described the difficult transition.
“The police remain monitoring the church; they shift every two days. So far Sunday worship has not been interrupted badly. We cannot worship here but we have other places to go to.”
Still the repression has weakened the organization of the church itself: “Currently, we cannot decide who will be in charge of the church. But those who have left the church are still trying to persuade the government to let them take over the church. (Sigh) There is nothing we could do but pray. Praise the Lord. Maybe God will use this incident to reveal the truth.”
Read the full interview with the Woman from Linfen Church.
Preying on the insecurities and internal conflicts of the church has suited the Fushan government’s aims. With the incident now weeks behind them, Fushan officials have chosen not to deny the attack on Linfen Church, but have devised charges against church members to hold them responsible for the destruction of property and injury.
ChinaAid urges the international community to continue praying for the victims of the Linfen-Fushan Church attack, and for the release of the church leaders and the patience and wisdom of their congregations to remain faithful in these difficult circumstances.