Shandong Preacher Persecuted, Files Lawsuit Over Her Administrative Detention

China Aid Association
image[2](Liangshan County, Shandong – Sept. 28, 2011)  A woman preacher certified by the official Three-Self church and who preached for many years in a government-approved church was administratively detained for five days last month and has filed a lawsuit over the incident, ChinaAid has learned.
The case in coastal Shandong province’s Liangshan County is being played out against the backdrop of a high-profile Chinese Bible exhibition that the Chinese government has sent on tour in the United States to promote the idea that freedom of religion exists in China.
Photo at right: Administrative punishment decision of the Public Security Bureau of Liangshan County, Shandong province. (China Aid Association)

But as the Shandong case shows, even clergy from government churches are not safe from persecution.  Liu Xiuying is a woman preacher from the Chazhuang Church, which is approved by the local Three-Self Patriotic Association and China Christian Council.  Nonetheless, she has been repeatedly persecuted by the Liangshan County police and Religious Affairs Bureau since May, and was put under administrative detention for five days on Sept. 9.
Liu is a devout Christian who converted in October 1986.  In 2006, after undergoing the requisite training and passing the requisite exams, she became a preacher, and she has been preaching for many years at a Sunday meeting site affiliated with the government-approved Chazhuang Church.  On May 29 at 9:30 a.m., while Liu and others were worshipping at the meeting site in the asbestos insulation factory on Shuipo Middle Road, a group of people from the Liangshan police and the Liangshan religious affairs departments illegally stormed into the meeting place, forcibly apprehended Liu and took her to the North District police station where they illegally interrogated her.  In the course of the interrogation, they slandered her religious beliefs and said that she believed in cults and heresies.
Thereafter, she was repeatedly summoned by the police, to the point where it was impossible for her to live a normal faith life.  On Sept. 9, the Liangshan Public Security Bureau issued an administrative punishment decision that said Liu had harmed society by fraudulently using the name of religion and ordered Liu to be administratively detained for five days.  The punishment was carried out as ordered.
The Liangshan Three-Self Patriotic Association and China Christian Council investigated the matter and issued a certificate confirming Liu’s status as a preacher and stating furthermore that she was a law-abiding and model Christian living a life of “being salt and light.”
L-wɶIn an effort to protect her lawful rights and defend her reputation, Liu has hired a Christian lawyer from Beijing to provide legal assistance and help her sue the Liangshan police. On Oct. 20, the lawyer arrived in Liangshan, familiarized himself with the details of the case and drafted the lawsuit.  The next day, Liu filed the lawsuit with the Liangshan People’s Court.  The court has acknowledged receipt of her suit and has informed her that she will be notified within seven days whether the court will hear the case.
(Double click photo at right of Liu’s lawsuit for a larger image.)
ChinaAid condemns this persecution of Liu and steadfastly supports her in her suit to protect her basic right to freedom of religious belief.  This case of the persecution of a preacher belonging to the government’s own Three-Self church, as well as other cases of persecution of Three-Self churches and their clergy, clearly and thoroughly show that in China, it doesn’t matter if it is a house church or a Three-Self church, any believer or church that dares to persist in the principles of the faith can be a target of government persecution.  That’s because the “religious freedom” that is permitted by the Chinese government is the “freedom” for religion to uphold the Communist Party and the Communist government.  That is, there is no freedom of religion in China.

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Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
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