(Chengdu, Sichuan—January 19, 2021) On January 15, Shu Qiong, a Christian who attends Chengdu Early Rain Covenant Church (ERCC), wrote an open letter to Chengdu Mayor—Wang Fengchao, requesting official intervention for ongoing police persecution.
The following presents a copy of the open letter Ms. Shu wrote:
Dear Wang Fengchao—the Lord Mayor of Chengdu,Greetings to you and your family.I am a Christian citizen living in Chengdu, the PRC, where you serve as the mayor. I have two sons, the oldest, 7-years-old, and the youngest, 9-months-old.During the past two years, government officials, particularly police, have constantly persecuted those in the church I attend. Today [January 14], I personally experienced this tragedy as police officers encroached my Christian faith, personal safety, and possessions.
Officials in the administrative departments of Chengdu, the city you oversee, particularly the public security department, have encroached innocent Christians’ faith, personal safety, and possession as done to me today, multiple times in the past two years. Police illegally placed Christians of my church under administrative detention, illegally confiscated their possessions, beaten some church member, shut off the water, electricity, heat, and internet at some of their places, forced some families to to move from their homes, threatened some citizens at home, had some fired from their jobs, sealed their doors with padlocks, separated children from their mothers, and have kept some ERCC church members under surveillance 24 hours every day…—the list can be ongoing.
In the past, I have witnessed how police encroached others, and now, this happened to me.
On January 14, I left home at 9 am. When returning at 6 pm, I found that two boxes of devotional notebooks I kept in my wardrobe had disappeared. After confirming that none of my family members had taken them, I phoned the police. When police officers arrived and asked me to accompany them to Wuhou District Jinyang police station to report the incident, I agreed, carrying my youngest son with me.
After officers completed the interrogation transcript, Police Wang Hongwei told me that police had confiscated my things as they were involved in a case. “I have no idea what crime I committed,” I said. ” Will you issue an inventory of items involved in the case,?” I asked.
“We do not have that,” he said.
An even more critical consideration: “Why did the public security department fail to tell me my crime when confiscating my personal stuff to process the case? Why didn’t anyone inform me how public security department officials got into my home. Why didn’t anyone show me any legal papers?”
“Police don’t need to show any papers when handling a case,” Officer Wang said.
Dear Lord Mayor, as the mayor of Chengdu City, you and your staff should be very knowledgeable about our country’s and Chengdu’s laws. As a citizen, I do not understand why police do not comply with our laws. Aren’t both citizens and public power departments subject to laws?”
In accordance with laws and rules, when Police Officer Wang completed the interrogation transcript, I asked him for the receipt. He said that Early Rain Covenant Church was a cult; that the study materials were illegal, so they would not file the transcript. He advised me to go to the Wuhou Branch of State Security Department if I had any questions.
Due to the separation of church and state, I do not think the government should call Early Rain Covenant Church a cult. The government should not judge a church. Also, Early Rain Covenant Church, one of the Catholic churches the world acknowledges, the Lord Jesus Christ’s church, holds the biblical truth.
Basically, as a Christian citizen, I would like the Lord Mayor to address my following questions:
- Are State Security officers authorized to force a citizen’s door open , inspect their place, and confiscate a citizen’s possessions without showing any legal papers?
- Is Early Rain Covenant Church a cult? How do you define a cult? By what law do you make the definition? What is the boundary of the government’s power? Is the government authorized and qualified to judge a church?
- Will the government intervene when its administrative departments encroach citizens’ freedom of religion, personal safety, and possessions?
Dear the Lord Mayor, as an average Christian citizen. I teach my children in a corner of the city which you oversee, according to Jesus’s teachings, hoping they will grow up to be good citizens. We love this city. When I encounter unlawful things, I cannot help but worry, I do not know when police will illegally force my door open, and threaten my personal safety as well as the security of my possessions.
The Bible says that rulers do not hold any terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong (Romans 13:3).
Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority [referring to God]? If so, do what is right and you will be commended.
I hope you will be a mayor who rewards kindness and penalizes evil.
A Christian citizen: Shu Qiong
January 15, 2021
Ms. Shu rejected both demands. “I am willing to take the ramifications of my decision,” she said.