China Aid Association
|Pastor Zhang Shaojie|
(Nanle, Henan—Nov. 17, 2013) More than 20 believers from Nanle County Christian Church, a Three-Self sanctioned church, were detained between yesterday morning and today.
The series of detainments began yesterday when, around 9:30 a.m., Pastor Zhang Xiaojie met with the Nanle County Public Security Bureau Chief and a deputy at the church in what appears to have been a trap set to detain Zhang.
During the meeting, approximately a dozen police officers entered the church and “tied up” Zhang without showing any formal documents, according to the church.
Church members and Zhang’s family members gathered in front of the police station to protest Zhang’s detainment. The group was denied entry to the building and some where beat, “causing Pastor Zhang’s old age parents’ hospitalization for high blood pressure,” church members said. Zhang’s two sisters were detained during the protest.
Over the course of the night, local government officials had church members come to a local government building where officials “lectured them, threatened them and instilled fear in them,” the church said.
This morning, every gate to the church was guarded and anyone who tried to enter was detained, an unnamed church member said.
No information on the location of any detainees is available; however, it is known that they are being tortured, according to the church. Additionally, no arrest notices have been given to the families of the detainees.
Government workers disguised as Zhang have published comments from Zhang on the Internet in order to calm the public.
Since Zhang’s detainment, church funds have been frozen.
ChinaAid condemns the government violence against these peaceful Christian leaders and believers. “This case against even the officially approved churches again shows the current Chinese regime has no intention to relent its increasing persecution on citizens for religious freedom,” Bob Fu, founder and president of ChinaAid, said. “The mere proclamation of a blueprint for economic reform cannot make the Chinese Dream fully realized unless the Chinese government respects its citizens’ fundamental rights and freedom of religion and conscience. We call upon the Chinese top leaders to intervene immediately and release these leaders and hold abusive officials accountable.”