China Aid Association July 22 2013
The first occurred on Sunday, June 9, 2013. Brother Tan Wen, who lives on Aletai Road in the Shayibake District of Urumqi, was leading a worship service at a friend’s house with many elderly people in attendance. During the service, three men and two women broke into the house and shouted loudly: “Yours is an illegal assembly and all of you must stay still.” Because the disruptive newcomers were not wearing uniforms and did not show official identification, some of the worshippers feared initially that they were being robbed.
Although the police officer refused to provide any identification themselves, they interrogated the worshippers for more than an hour, threatening to take the young people to the police station for further questioning. When the worshippers demanded to see official identification, one of the officers stated that those who raid illegal Christian gatherings do not need to show identification. Eventually, the police took Tan Wen to the local police station, where they determined that the worship service was an “illegal gathering” and sentenced Tan Wen to 10 days of public security detention and fined him 500 yuan.
The second raid occurred on Sunday, June 23, 2013. Sister Lu Xia, who lives at 27 Cangsonger Lane in the Shayibake District of Urumqi, attended a house church gathering at 26 Xisi Lane, East Cangfanggou Road. Officers from the Shayibake District Branch of Urumqi Municipal Public Security Bureau broke in during the meeting and, without showing identification, took Lu away. She was sentenced to five days administrative detention.
Also, as China Aid reported yesterday, sister Zhu Jinfeng of Urumqi hosted a Bible study at her home on Sunday. During the study, her home was raided by the local Public Security Bureau and other agencies, and she was fined 500 yuan.
These three incidents share five common characteristics:
· First, the police officers violated legal procedure by failing to show their law enforcement identification.
· Second, the officers failed to notify the Christians of their right to argue their cases and provide reasons for their arguments, as required by law.
· Third, the relevant facts and applicable law were misstated by the officers and did not support the penalties imposed;
· Fourth, the officers’ actions violated the Christians’ religious freedom and personal rights;
· Fifth, the penalties imposed on the Christians had no basis in law because religious affairs are governed by the Bureau of Religion; the officers in this case had no authority to regulate the citizens’ religious faith.
China Aid notes that house churches in China continue to be persecuted and suppressed, and asks the international community to also take note of the escalating suppression on the house churches in China. The Chinese government must respect the basic rights of the people and truly safeguard the right to religious belief, as stipulated in the Chinese Constitution and international law.
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