Released Christian leader Re-arrested on the eve of Christmas in Xinjiang; Christmas Celebration Disrupted in Beijing: Closed house church appealed to the local government in Anhui

China Aid Association
(Midland, Texas — December 28, 2006) China Aid Association
(CAA) learns that a house church leader in Xinjiang, who was just released
November 26, 2006 after 32 days detention by the local police, was arrested
again December 23, 2006.

Brother Lou Yuanqi
was arrested October 20, 2006 for organizing and participating in Christian
gatherings in Qingshuihe town, Huocheng
County, Yili city,
Xinjiang autonomous area, according to CAA’s prior report.
It is believed
that the arrest is to deter the Christians from holding any Christmas celebration
activities. Brother Lou is currently held at the Detention Center of Huocheng
County. So far, none of brother Lou’s family members have received any official
notice regarding the reason of his detention.

Moreover, CAA
learns on Christmas Eve, a Christmas celebration was disrupted in Beijing. While about 150
young people were celebrating Christmas in a house church in Haidian District, Beijing, two-dozen PSB
officers and officials from Religious Affairs Bureau suddenly surrounded them.
The hosting house church used to be ministered by pastor Cai Zhuohua who is
serving three years imprisonment because of bible printing work. All of the
participants were videotaped and forced to register their ID numbers. The
government officials declared the meeting as an “illegal religious gathering”
and warned them not to meet anymore.

CAA also learns
that on December 19, 2006 a recently closed house church appealed to the local
government for the church’s illegal closure by the local Religious Affair
Bureau.

The house church
in Tongling city, Anhui
province was established by Brother Wang Xingquan in 1953, according to the
previous report by CAA. The local Religious Affair Bureau had resorted to
administrative measures, including holding the church leaders’ salaries and
threatening to fire them from the national unit, to force the Christians affiliate
the government run TSPM church.

“We are very
concerned about the arbitrary detention of brother Lou again,” said Bob Fu, “we
urge the Xinjiang government to release him immediately.”

Issued by CAA on December 28, 2006
Attachment:
Theclosed House Church’s Administrative Reconsideration ApplicationApplicants: Wang Xingquan (Church leader)
Applicantee:
National & Religious Affair Bureau of Tongling city, Anhui provinceApplicationRequests:
1
The administrative punishment made by the
local National & Religious Affair Bureau to close the house church is
illegal.

2
Revoke the administrative punishment made
by the local National & Religious Affair Bureau of closing the house
church, and compensate the church 1
dollar in accordance with the provisions of Lawof the People’s Republic of China on State Compensation

Facts and reasons for requests:
Facts:
Being converted in
his young age, brother Wang established the house church in Tongling in 1953,
though the current church building was bought legally in 1994.

November 20, 2006
Tongling national & Religious Affair Bureau sent the church “Administrative
Punishment Decision” proclaiming that it is illegal for the church to hold
their religious activities in the church building, and the church is to be
closed down, according to “the State Council’s Regulations on the Religious
Affairs”

December 5, 2006
upon the request of the Christians, the government held a hearing in which the church
expressed its stand and arguments. But the Religious Affair Bureau’s decision
to close the church was upheld.

Reasons:
Tongling
Religious Affair Bureau proclaims that the church is an illegal gathering point
and should be closed down referring to Article 43 of “the State Council’s
Regulations on the Religious Affairs,” which states:

If a place of religious activity isestablished without authorization, or if a place of religious activity is
deregistered yet continues to conduct religious activities, or if a religious
academy is established without authorization, the department of religious
affairs shall outlaw such place or academy and seize illicit income. The departments
in charge of construction shall handle illegal buildings and structures
according to law. Violations of public security shall be subject to public
security penalties. If a non-religious group or a place of non-religious
activity conducts a religious activity and accepts donations of a religious
nature, the department of religious affairs shall order a halt to such activity
and will seize illicit income, if there is any.

The
Religious Affair Bureau also proclaims that the church set up gathering place
violates that article 20, item 2 of the Chinese State Council’s Religious
Affair Regulations.

“Places of religious activity may, inaccordance with religious customs, accept contributions from citizens. However,
they may not coerce or apportion such contributions. Non-religious groups and
places of non-religious activity shall not organize or hold religious events
and shall not receive contributions of a religious nature.”

The church
believes that the church’s administrative punishment made by the Tongling
Religious Affair Bureau is illegal and should be revoked because of the
misunderstanding and misusing of the above law.

According to the
stipulation in the Law on the Legislation article 78, “The Constitution is the highest legal authority; no law,
administrative regulation, local regulation, autonomous regulation, special
rule or administrative or local rule may contravene the Constitution.”

Article 36
of the Chinese constitution stipulates, “The
Citizens of People’s Republic of China enjoy freedom of religious belief.
No state organization, public organization or individual may compel citizens to
believe in, or not to believe in, any religion; nor may they discriminate
against citizens who believe in, or do not believe in, any religion. “

Religious
freedom means that the place for religious activity can be set up without the
approval of government, because religious belief concerns simply the inner
feelings or mental activity of a citizen, secular law can only regulate the
outward conducts of a citizen, rather than examine the inner emotion or mental
activity of a citizen. Secular law shall not at any time intervene and evaluate
the specific religious contents of a citizen, nor shall it exercise its “authority
of license” on the religious activity.

At maximum,
the place for religious activity of believers may be filed in the entity
holding the public power for reference, without the need to receive a license
or permission, otherwise, the action of the entity holding public power
constitutes illegal intervention or discrimination of the religious freedom
protected by the Constitution.

Article 2
of the Chinese State Council’s Religious Affair Regulations states: “Citizens have freedom of religious belief.
No organization or individual shall force a citizen to believe or not believe a
religion. No organization or individual shall discriminate against citizens who
believe in a religion (hereinafter referred to as “religious citizens”) or who
do not believe in a religion (hereinafter referred to as “non-religious
citizens”). Religious citizens, non-religious citizens, and citizens who
believe different religions shall all respect each other and co-exist
harmoniously.”

According to the White Paper “The Situation of Freedom of Religious
Belief in China” (issued by the Information Office of the State Council on
October 16, 1997), the religious activities conducted by Christians according
to customs of Christianity at their homes such as Bible reading and prayer,
attended primarily by family members and friends (customarily referred to by
Chinese Christians as “house gatherings”) are not required to register. Thus
the local Religious Affair Bureau’s requesting the church to register to the
government contravenes to the Chinese government’s religious policy.

Religious freedom is proclaimed to be a legally inalienable human right
of Chinese citizens by the Constitution and laws. Religious freedom is one of the
greatest achievements in the modern legal domain for the development of human
civilization. This achievement is the result of the arduous efforts and bloody
struggle of the Protestants for several centuries, part of whom lost their
lives for the struggle.

Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights, passed in the UN General Assembly on December 10 of 1948, recognizes
that “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion.
This right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom,
either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest
his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance.”

Conclusion:
The house church
was established as early as in 1953, long before the “the State Council’s
Regulations on Religious Affair” took into effect. Even the local government
affirms the history of the church in its documents. Thus as a government
acknowledged religious organization, the church is protected by the Chinese
Constitution. The administrative punishment made by the Religious Affair Bureau
has no legal basis in that it contravenes the Chinese constitution, which is
the superior rank in the Chinese legal system.

Issued by CAA on December 28, 2006



China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
Email: [email protected] 
Website: www.chinaaid.org

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