The Chuichang church
re-erects its cross.
(Photo: China Aid)
Reported and written in Chinese by Qiao Nong. Translated by Brynne Lawrence. Edited in English by Ava Collins.
(Wenzhou, Zhejiang—Sept. 9, 2015) Authorities detained two church deacons in Wenzhou on Sunday and Monday after churches re-erected crosses that had been demolished.
Wenzhou police detained Huang Xiaoyuan, a deacon of Shangzhou Church in the Tengqiao religious district, and Zhang Zhi, a deacon of Xianqiao Church, last week. Police have provided no information about Huang while Zhang was sentenced to five days in administrative detention.
On Sunday, the Shangzhou Church in Wenzhou re-erected their church’s cross, and authorities subsequently cut off the church’s power. Church members then brought their own generator-powered lighting. The church members were later approached by the local Communist Party branch secretary and told to take the cross back down.
After the church re-erected the cross, Huang was taken into custody around 6:30 p.m. Sunday evening because police suspected him of “gathering a crowd to disturb public order.” While his current circumstances are unknown, his family expressed concern for his health as he has a chronic gastrointestinal disease.
On Monday morning, authorities arrested Zhang in his home after Xianqiao Church re-erected their cross. His wife said that five or six plainclothes officers forced their way inside their home and carried Zhang away. She believes her husband was taken after a disagreement with police a few days earlier, in which authorities pressured church members to remove the cross again.
With these two detentions, authorities in Wenzhou have detained 14 people in the last two weeks including notable human rights lawyer Zhang Kai, whose case has gained international attention. Other detainees include church elders and pastors, such as Wang Xianyun, Yan Xiaojie, Zhou
Aiping, Zhou Jian, Wei Wenhai, Cheng Congping and Jian Liyou. Lawyers, such as Zhang Kai’s assistant Liu Peng, Fang Xianggui and three others, have also been detained.