Two Women Administratively Detained for Distributing Gospel Tracts in Xinjiang; Have Hired Lawyer to Defend Religious Freedom

China Aid Association
(Bazhou, Xinjiang–March 27, 2013) Two Christian women who had printed and were distributing Gospel tracts in the far western region of Xinjiang were held under administrative detention for 10 days and have hired a lawyer to seek a review of their case, ChinaAid has learned.

Wang Yuxia and Zhang Xiaocun were released from their 10 days of administrative detention on March 8 and have retained a rights defense lawyer and have applied for an administrative review of their case in an effort to protect their right to religious freedom in accordance with the law.

The two women, who are passionate about evangelization, had printed up a large number of tracts about the history of Christianity, the Christian faith and the benefits to society of believing in Christianity, and were distributing them in a law-abiding manner on Feb. 25 in the town of Qixing (Seven Stars), the village of Naimudong, in the Group Two area when they were taken into custody by officers from the Qixing police station at about 3 p.m.  They were sentenced to administrative detention the same day.

While they were in detention, the family members of the two women received “Notification to Detainee’s Family Members,” and when they were released, the two women received their “Administrative Penalty Decision” and their “Statement of Release from Detention.”  The two women have now, with the help of their lawyer, drafted an “Application for Administrative Reconsideration” in compliance with the legal procedure for a review.  (Click the thumbnails to see the original Chinese-language documents.  Translations are below.)

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ChinaAid condemns this incident, and urges the Xinjiang government to investigate and intervene immediately to stop the persecution of Christians and the suppression of Christianity, to respect the freedom of religious belief of the Han Chinese, so as to promote stability in Xinjiang.  ChinaAid will continue to monitor the developments in this case.

Application for Administrative Reconsideration

Applicant: Wang Yuxia, female, Han Chinese, peasant, born September 17, 1962. Current residence: Company 2, Division 21. Government ID number: 413022196909170583.
Tel: 15099462488

Respondent: Public Security Bureau, Yanqi Hui Autonomous County, Xinjiang.
Residential address: Public Security Bureau Building, Jiefang Road, Yanqi Hui Autonomous County, Xinjiang.
Legal representative: Zhou Yan. Title: Bureau director.

Review request:
1. Confirm in accordance with the law that the administrative penalty decision made on February 25, 2013 and coded Yan Gong (Qi) Xing Fa Jue Zi (2013) was in violation of the law.
2. Repeal in accordance with law the respondent’s written decision to impose the administrative penalty.

Facts and reasons:

At about 3 p.m. on February 25, 2013, the applicant was taken away by force by police officers when she was legally distributing Christian leaflets at Group 2, Naimudong Village, Qixing Town. That same day, the respondent imposed on the applicant the penalty of 10 days of administrative detention.
The applicant thinks that the above decision for administrative detention by the respondent on the applicant not only violates legal procedure, but also has no legal basis. Therefore, it should be nullified for the following reasons:

1. It violates legal procedure.
(i) The respondent failed to show their law enforcement identification as required by law. Article 37 of the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Administrative Penalty states; “When administrative organs conduct investigations or inspections, there shall be not less than two law-enforcing officers, who shall show their identification papers to the party or other persons concerned.” However, on February 25, 2013, the respondent’s law enforcement officers failed to show their identification before forcibly subjecting the applicant to an illegal interrogation and then holding her in the bureau’s detention center.

(ii) The respondent’s law enforcement officers failed to give the applicant written notification as required by law that she can defend herself and make a statement. Article 31 of the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Administrative Penalty states; “Before deciding to impose administrative penalties, administrative organs shall notify the parties of the facts, grounds and basis according to which the administrative penalties are to be decided on and shall notify the parties of the rights that they enjoy in accordance with law.” Article 32 of the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Administrative Penalty states; “The parties shall have the right to state their cases and to defend themselves. Administrative organs shall fully heed the opinions of the parties and shall reexamine the facts, grounds and evidence put forward by the parties; if the facts, grounds and evidence put forward by the parties are established, the administrative organs shall accept them. Administrative organs shall not impose heavier penalties on the parties just because the parties have tried to defend themselves.” On February 25, 2013, the respondent’s law enforcement officers did not listen to the applicant’s defense before deciding to impose the administrative penalty. This violated Articles 32, 34 and 40 of the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Administrative Penalty. According to Article 41 of the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Administrative Penalty, the administrative detention decision imposed by the respondent on the applicant violated law and is therefore invalid.

2. The respondent’s administrative penalty lacks factual basis.
The basis for the respondent’s penalty is Clause 1, Article 27 of the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Penalties for Administration of Public Security, which specifies the punishment for those who are “organizing, instigating, coercing, inducing or inciting another person to engage in activities of cults, superstitious sects, or secret societies, or making use of cults, superstitious sects, secret societies, or superstitious activities to disturb social order and harm the health of another people” and the respondent cited this clause to say that the applicant had engaged in cult activities that disturbed social order. But the respondent had fabricated a reason out of nothing and distorted the facts. This applicant was publicizing an uncommon religion, but one that has a history of thousands of years and is the world’s most influential religion today. The governments and peoples of most of the Western countries believe in this religion, yet some law enforcement officers in this local area denounce it as a cult. This is in defiance of world opinion and is backwards thinking that runs counter to the progressive forces of the world. Only Mao Zedong-era Red Guards are this ignorant.

3. The respondent’s actions violated the applicant’s religious freedom and personal rights.
The respondent’s law enforcement officers disrupted the order of the applicant’s religious life. All four of China’s constitutions, including the current one, have provisions for freedom of religious belief. Deprivation of religious freedom is not permitted for any reason, obviously including the use of the pretense of registration to impose restrictions. Separation of church and state is a major worldwide trend, and government departments must not illegally interfere. Marxism advocates freedom of religion and separation of church and state. Marx said that everyone should be able to have his religious needs met, just as his physical needs are met, without interference from police. Lenin also said that a proletarian political party requires that everyone has the full rights of freedom of religion. Of the European countries, only Russia and Turkey still have some shameful laws. These laws either directly ban a religion or ban the preaching of this religion or deprive believers this religion of some of their rights. All these laws are extremely unjust, extremely coercive and extremely shameful. Not only should everyone have complete freedom to believe in whatever religion he or she pleases, but he or she should also have complete freedom to preach whatever religion he or she please and to switch religious affiliation. No government official can control what a person wants to believe: this is a matter of personal belief, which no one can control There should not be such a thing as a “dominant” religion or church. All religions and all churches should be equal before the law.

The rough manner in which the respondent interfered with the applicant’s normal religious activities and the illegal decision to detain the applicant for 10 days violate the applicant’s religious freedom and her personal freedom.

4. The respondent’s administrative penalty decision is without legal basis.
The respondent had no right to interfere in the applicant’s religious affairs of the applicant, much less to interfere in applicant’s religious freedom. Each of our nation’s government departments has its specific functions and its own responsibilities. Religious affairs should be handled by the Religious Affairs Bureau. Article 5 of the Regulations on Religious Affairs states: “The religious affairs department of the people’s government at or above the county level shall, in accordance with the law, exercise administration of religious affairs that involve State or public interests…” If the Public Security Bureau is in charge of everything and takes matters into its own hands, then why have a Religious Affairs Bureau? The Public Security Bureau has no authority to take the place of the Religious Affairs Bureau and meddle in religious affairs. Therefore, the religious affairs of the applicant should fall under the jurisdiction of the Religious Affairs Bureau, and the Public Security Bureau has the right to get involved only when security issues and other related issues are involved. Article 36 of the Chinese Constitution states: “Citizens of the People’s Republic of China enjoy freedom of religious belief. No state organ, public organization or individual may compel citizens to believe in, or not to believe in, any religion; nor may they discriminate against citizens who believe in, or do not believe in, any religion.” The religious freedom proclaimed in the Chinese Constitution means that every citizen has the right to freely believe in or refuse to believe in any religion or supernatural being, even the right to believe in devils and worship idols. So long as a citizen’s outward acts do not violate prohibitive provisions in the law (of course, these prohibitive provisions must be in line with the principles and spirit of the related articles and clauses in the Constitution in order to be lawful and valid, otherwise, they are unconstitutional and invalid), then the law enforcement department cannot for any reason restrict or interfere with religious freedom acts of the citizen. If it does, then the actions of the law enforcement department constitute a violation of the law. Even if the citizen has committed a crime, the target of the legal punishment is not the essence of the citizen’s faith, but the citizen’s outward actions.

In summing up the above, the decision of administrative detention imposed by the respondent on the applicant violated legal procedure and Articles 36 and 37 of the Chinese Constitution, the highest law in China, and is therefore an illegal administrative decision. Pursuant to Clause 2 of Article 6 and Article 12 of the Administrative Reconsideration Law of the People’s Republic of China, we hereby submit this application for administration review, asking the review department to safeguard the legitimate interests of the applicant.

To:  Yanqi Hui Autonomous County People’s Government
Applicant: Wang Yuxia
Date:…,… 2013

1. One duplicate copy of the application for administrative review
2. One duplicate copy of the Public Security Administrative Penalty Decision coded Yan Gong (Qi) Xing Fa Jue Zi (2013) No. 006.
3. One duplicate copy of the applicant’s identification card.

(Yanqi County Public Security Bureau)
Administrative Penalty Decision

Yan Gong (Qi) Xing Fa Jue Zi (2013) No. 006

Violator (name, gender, age, date of birth, type and number of ID, place of household registration, current residential address, work unit, account of the violation and name of work unit to be punished, address and legal representative) Wang Yuxia, female, 51, born September 17, 1962. Home address: Company 2, Division 21, ID number: 413022196909170583. Investigation has determined that at about 3 p.m. on February 25, 2013, you, Wang Yuxia, and Zhang Xiaochen, distributed house by house Gospel tracts and tracts about belief in God at Group 2 of Naimudong Village, Qigexing Town, following which, you were caught by police officers from this police station.
The above facts are supported by the statement of Wang Yuxia, testimonies of witnesses, flyers and other pieces of evidence. Pursuant to Clause 1, Article 27 of Law of the People’s Republic of China on Penalties for Administration of Public Security, it is now decided to place the violator Wang Yuxia under 10 days of administrative detention for engaging in cult activities and disturbing public order.
Method of execution and time limit: fine to be paid within 15 days of receiving this written decision at the Yanqi County Agricultural Ban.
For every day the fine is past due, a 3% penalty charge will be added, the total of which shall not exceed the amount of the original fine.

Objections to this decision can submitted in an application for administrative review to Bazhou Public Security Bureau or Yanqi County People’s Government within 60 days of receiving this written decision or submitted within three months in an administrative lawsuit in accordance with law to Yanqi People’s Court.

Appendix: list of ___________. Total: ____ copies

Seal of the Public Security Agency. (Seal is illegible)

February 25, 2013

Written decision of administrative penalty has been read to me and received by me.
Person penalized: (signed by) Wang Yuxia
February 25, 2013

This document exists in three copies, one each to the person penalized and the work unit executing it, and one file copy. In a public security case involving a victim, one copy shall be delivered to the victim.

China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
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