China Aid Association
(SHANDONG – June 15, 2009) ChinaAid has learned that on June 8 and June 9, leaders from government-sanctioned organizations in Ji’nan Municipality of Shandong province colluded with officials from the Bureau of Religion to forcibly take over and demolish the Christian Changchunli Church of Ji’nan. According to ChinaAid contacts, leaders from the government-sanctioned organizations, the China Christian Council (CCC) and Three Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM), signed a secret deal with the government and real estate developers to close the church without informing the church members or the pastor.
Changchunli Church is a legally registered, government-sanctioned church located in Weijiazhuangpian District on Jing’er Road, Middle District of Ji’nan Municipality. On June 8, more than 30 people, including Section Chief Yang Yong from the Bureau of Religion of Ji’nan Municipality, Group Chief Wang Yulai, Zhang Hongwei, President of the CCC/TSPM of Ji’nan Municipality, and many pastors from government-sanctioned churches broke into the Changchunli Church building. Directed and assisted by the Public Security Bureau (PSB), they confronted the believers who were present.
Zhang Hongwei demanded that the keys to the church be handed over to him and that church gatherings immediately cease. He also announced that the “Changchunli Church Working Group,” made up of Zhang Shuyuan, Wang Wenhuan, Duan Guoshan, Li Fuzhen and Dong Yongge, all belonging to the CCC/TSPM, would take control of Changchunli Church. They recalled the director pastor of Changchunli Church Management Committee and attempted to take the church by force. Because of the believers’ strong objections, their efforts failed. However, on June 9, the government and state church officials again sent out more than 40 people to seal the church building by force.
According to ChinaAid contacts, the CCC/TSPM of Ji’nan Municipality of Shandong province has long been under the control and supervision of government officials of Ji’nan Municipality. Last year CCC/TSPM leaders reduced the property of Changchunli Church from a floor area of 1,129.33 square meters to a little over 300 square meters. To protect their church property, the church members have temporarily kept Changchunli Church by refusing to move out, hoping to find a way to protect the church property through legal means. The attacks on June 8 and 9 were the latest actions of the TSPM/CCC government officials’ efforts to close down the church.
Bob Fu, president of ChinaAid, stated, “This case shows the true nature of the Three Self Patriotic Movement and its deep collaboration with the government in order to destroy Changchunli Church. This demonstrates that even registered churches are not safeguarded from government persecution in China. “
As the government has begun to block and censor news regarding the incident, below are links to letters, documents and comments ChinaAid has received from believers of the Changchunli Church in Ji’nan Municipality of Shandong province.
Contact the Chinese Embassy and urge that the harassment against Changchunli Church members cease and that their church building be released back to them.
Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong
3505 International Place, NW, Washington, D.C. 20008
Tel: (202) 495-2000
Fax: (202) 588-9760
Read the Public Notice on Violations of the Law by Officials from Bureau of Religion of Ji’nan Municipality and by CCC/TSPM of Ji’nan Municipality.”
Read the “Decision of China Christian Council/Three-Self Patriotic Movement of Ji’nan Municipality on Suspension of Activities at Changchunli Church”