(Langzhong, Sichuan—Jan. 21, 2014) The request for administrative reconsideration by a house church employee concerning his December detainment in the southwestern province of Sichuan was denied on multiple occasions in December and January.
Li Mingbo, an employee at the Langzhong house church, was given 15 days of administrative detention on Dec. 24 for organizing a Christmas gathering for church members (https://chinaaid.org/2014/01/series-of-disrupted-new-years-christmas.html).
Li was responsible for organizing one of two celebrations on Christmas Eve, of which he had already informed the Domestic Security Protection Squad. The Domestic Security Protection Squad had told Li that prior approval was required when they attempted to shut down Christmas celebrations in 2012.
“I told them on Dec. 23 that we would celebrate Christmas. [The Domestic Security Protection Squad officer] said no,” Li said. “I said we celebrate Christmas once a year, and the brothers and sisters had already been notified about this, and everything had been decided. He said no, but we began the celebration anyway on Dec. 24.”
“When [the Domestic Security Protection Squad] came, we were eating a meal. They took me into their custody and wanted me to pay a fine of 500 yuan (US$82). I said I would not pay the fine, and I said that was my religious belief, and that my belief is pure, is not a cult,” Li said. It was because Li refused to pay the fine that he was detained.
When Li was released on Jan. 8, he submitted an official request for administrative reconsideration, demanding that the Domestic Security Protection Squad admit he was innocent. Li said that an officer at the Domestic Security Protection Squad wanted him to sign a document, admitting his guilt before his request could be considered, but Li refused.
“I didn’t sign [the document on Dec. 25, the first time it was presented] as I…don’t admit to being guilty, and I have objections to their penalty. After I was released, I went to the Domestic Security Protection Squad to look for [the officer]. I asking him to give me the decision for the administrative reconsideration because the act was one of illegal law enforcement,” Li said.
“He said I didn’t want to sign it when he tried to give it to me [on Dec. 25]. I said the reason why I didn’t sign it was because I was not satisfied with it. I asked him what was different from when he gave it to me on Dec. 25 and when he gave it to me on Jan. 8,” Li said.
“On Jan. 10, I went there again to look for him, and again they refused to give me the document admitting my innocence, and they were extremely vicious.”
Despite Li’s disappointment at the rejection of his request, some good may have come from it after all. The church’s pastor said that after Li’s appeal the Domestic Security Protection Squad dared not issue a public notice of Li’s administrative penalty.
The Langzhong house church, which has a congregation of more than 1,000 believers, has been persecuted many times. In the past, the Public Security Bureau warned them that their gatherings were illegal and demanded that they stop the gatherings.
ChinaAid will continue to monitor and update the situation as developments arise.