October 4, 2010
Open Letter | PDF
Pastor Zhang “Bike” Mingxuan has written his fifth open letter to President Hu Jintao on National Day, urging China’s head of state to turn his heart towards the suffering across the vast, populous nation.
In this letter, the well-known pastor shares the burdens in his ailing heart for those oppressed in his nation. He speaks of daily struggles, court battles, beatings and robberies that the house church Christians have endured. He also recounts the story of Chen Guancheng, the blind human-rights activist fighting against the cruelty of the one-child policy.
Even though Pastor Bike has been arrested almost 50 times because of his faith in Jesus Christ, he exudes a cheerful and respectful spirit, something evident in his extensive letter.
National Day, October 1, 2010
THE FIFTH OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT HU JINTAO
Dear Honorable President Hu Jintao:
I wish you good health! I hope that you can spare some time out of your busy schedule to give audience to the appeal of a Chinese citizen.
President Hu Jintao, the highest official of the Chinese people: My name is Zhang Mingxuan and I am a pastor of a house church. I am a son of God – a Christian – and president of the Chinese Christian House Church Alliance. I have been arrested 49 times because of my faith. I am now writing my fifth open letter to you in the dignity, integrity, righteousness, justice and benevolence of God. Upon first glance, this letter may sound unpleasant, but it is full of truth. I beg God to soften your heart and that you may not be irritated so you can listen to admonitions and truth from an ordinary person. Only this way can your country prosper and your position be firm and stable. It is written in Proverbs 14:34 in the Bible: “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people” (KJV).
If you do not lend your ear to ordinary people and only listen to a handful of corrupt scoundrels, thugs, and government bandits who are hidden at various levels of the Chinese government, and if you support them as they sabotage the relationship between the Party and the ordinary people, they will undermine the policy of agreement and a harmonious China that you have spoken of. If we let government bandits and scoundrels who claim to defend the power of the state entertain you in order to be promoted, and if you let them persecute the ordinary people at their will, they will become vermin that bring only devastation to our Chinese nation. They will continue trampling the dignity of the legal system and going against the policies that benefit the nation and the people. The consequences of such a disaster are unthinkable.
Just think of the bloody history of China in the last 5,000 years. The last government of each dynasty was very confident. Yet, they did not know they had lost the trust and loyalty of the people because the officials were corrupt and the nation was about to collapse. In the past few years, we have had many natural disasters: earthquakes, droughts, floods and mudslides. Our non-natural disasters have included mine accidents, killing of young children (kindergarteners), riots in Tibet, riots in Xinjiang, and many other places, all bringing great loss to our Chinese nation. You and Premier Wen Jiabao are working hard, traveling about to ensure the safety of we the common citizens and you have shown your utmost devotion to the prosperity of our nation. However, have you heard the saying, “Once the emperor has become disconcerted, the country will be wiped out; when the officials have become disconcerted, the country will be broken; when people are have become disconcerted, chaos will rule in the land”?
Without firm laws in place, officials began engaging in favoritism and malpractice. As a result, the people began to complain. You have set up courts for petitioners to write letters and make calls, promising democracy, freedom of religion and freedom in human rights. Yet, all that was promised has gone down the drain. When the petitioners appeal to higher authorities they are intercepted by government bandits under you who commit countless crimes such as threatening the petitioners, sending them to labor camps, and detaining, arresting and beating them. So far, you have turned a deaf ear to these gross violations of the law. Are you really not aware that the country is actually ruled by corruption through government outlaws who are bringing great misery to ordinary people? Is it true that you really do not care about this and will not investigate these happenings?
Chinese house church Christians abide by the law. They love the people and our country and they are model citizens. They pray for you and your government every day and they ask Jesus to bless you and other leaders of the state with righteousness, justice, health, and they pray for blessings upon China. Yet, they have become the target of a group of government bandits who answer to you and these officials often arrest and beat innocent Christians and wronged citizens. The only way they can excuse their behavior is by labeling the house churches as cults, or wrongly stating the Christians have violated the law. House church Christians have also been ill-treated simply because they are petitioners to crimes of the government. The international community and users of the internet everywhere know all of this. Even so, it seems that you have no intention of involving yourself because you do not investigate these things and do not stop the illegal actions of the government officials.
Instead of resolving these issues, the officials choose to suppress the petitioners and the wronged citizens all the more. The four letters I have written to you before this one were published in many media outlets in China and abroad. However, since I wrote them, things have not improved and instead the local governments have increased their suppression of Christians. Because I have told the truth and hope you accept my advice, the local governments have placed me under surveillance, stalked me and tried to ensnare me continually. I am just an ordinary person and there is no reason to spend so much manpower and other many resources to persecute me.
This is the fifth letter I have written you. Whether you read it and listen to my advice or not will not matter. The wrath of God is accumulating. People are becoming inundated by ignorance while the government’s corruption is increasing. Merit and virtue is ignored by society and our ethical standards have degenerated. Therefore, with a heart as a son of God and for the love of all 1.3 billion people in the China, I hereby give you some advice.
My hope is that you can listen to what an ordinary Christian would like to convey to you and I hope you will not get angry. If I am imprisoned for speaking truth on behalf of the nation, the Christians and the people who have been wronged, it is worth it. Even if I had to die to honor the Heavenly Father and my brothers and sisters in Christ, I would not complain. God is righteous. He says “not one hair of my head will perish” without Him knowing.
Dear President Hu, let me skip over the many religious cases in other provinces and focus instead on a series of recent persecution cases on churches:
I. The first case concerns the persecution by the Municipal Government, Public Security Bureau (PSB) and the People’s Court in Shangqiu when Christians in Tianmiao Xiang of Yucheng were arrested and sent to labor camps. On March 19, 2010, Wang Yanbin, director of the Public Security Bureau, ordered his officers to conduct a raid at midnight. They were dispatched to the residences of Liu Yunhua, Hua Yulan, Gao Jianli, Liu Fulan and other leaders of the church, and lured them to the local police station under the guise of collecting information and investigating public security. When Liu Yunhua, Gao Jianli, Zheng Yumei and Hua Yulan refused to pay money to the PSB officials, they were charged with joining a cult organization and sentenced to one year of re-education through labor. When Meng Qingmin, Ding Meilian and one other person were tricked in the same way, each of their families paid a fine of several thousand yuan. In total, the police received about 15,000 yuan, but did not complete any paperwork. They were released after being detained for 15 days.
After these Christians were detained and fined without cause by the defiant police officers, several Christians petitioned for justice in Beijing. The director of the Public Security Bureau issued an edict stating that these petitioners were wanted by the police. The Christians were so frightened that they did not stay in their homes for quite some time but went into hiding.
While in the labor camp, Gao Jianli wrote a letter of petition and told Li Yuxia, a family member, about how he was sentenced to re-education through labor. They appealed the sentencing at Xuchang Municipal Intermediate People’s Court, deeming the trial of first instance at the county court unfair. The second trial began at 9 a.m. on September 20, 2010. It was a public trial, so visitors and family members were supposed to be allowed to attend the trial. However, Wang Yanbin conspired with the court officials and did not allow the family members and visitors to enter the court room. Wang brought police officers to the court room as visitors, but disallowed common citizens and family members, even threatening to arrest the taxi drivers.
On September 19th, I went to see my brothers and sisters in Christ in Yucheng, planning to return to my hometown in Nanyang, Henan afterwards. I decided that on my way there I would stop over at Xuchang Municipal Court and attend the trial as a visitor. When we arrived at the gate of Xuchang Court at about 7 o’clock in the morning, Wang Yanbin was getting ready to appear in court and was surrounded by a team of plain-clothed people. When they saw visitors and family members of the Christians involved in the court case, Wang threatened them and took photos of them. When I looked at my cell phone, Wang Yanbin and his cohorts claimed I was taking photos of them. At the gate of the court, they robbed me of my cell phone and my handbag. When I sternly rebuked them, they dialed 110 and told the police officers from Banjiehe Police Station of Xuchang to take me and my wife to their police station. After two and a half hours of interrogation, they could not charge us with anything illegal. At 11:30 a.m., they released us.
Wang Yanbin told the police officers guarding the gate of the court not to let me in and told them I am the head of house churches in China. (In fact, I do not hold this title; the Lord Jesus Christ is the head of all churches.) They did not allow me to go in as a visitor. To prevent us from attending the court session as visitors, police officers arrested people without reason.
After the court adjourned, the family members traveled back to their homes. At 5:50 p.m., their vehicle arrived at the toll station at Shangqiu Highway, and Wang Yanbin sent over 10 police officers to block Liu Fulan, Hua Cuiying, Li Yuxia, Liu Sen and the driver Ma Keai from progressing. Their vehicle was confiscated and the police arrested them. When officers tried to rob Liu Sen of his cell phone, he would not give it to them, so they beat him and took all of them to Domestic Security Protection Squad of Yucheng Municipal Public Security Bureau where they were threatened and interrogated. By brutal force, they placed Liu Fulan, Hua Cuiying and Li Yuxia under a 15-day detention. At midnight on September 20th, the police sent them to a detention center. On September 21st at 1 a.m., Liu Sen was released.
After the case on the 19th of March occurred, Liu Sen’s father and mother were taken to Xuchang Re-education through Labor Center and Zhengzhou Re-education through Labor Center, respectively. During the detention, his mother Zheng Yumei became quite ill, but the authorities wouldn’t give her medical treatment. The team leader, Meng, called her son to send money for his mother’s treatment. Both of his parents were detained, so there was no way for him to come up with the money on his own. Liu Sen had to borrow 500 yuan from his relatives. When the authorities received the money, they did not give Liu Sen any paperwork in return.
Li Yuxia’s husband, Gao Jianli, was sentenced to one year of re-education through labor in Xuchang. Her father has cancer and is in critical condition. Li now has sole responsibility to provide for her 4-year-old son. Her only crime was wanting to attend her husband’s court trial as a visitor. When she attempted to explain her situation to the police, the police said she could only be excused from the detention if her child is one year old or younger; she couldn’t be excused with a 4-year-old child. So, they detained Li Yuxia for 15 days by force.
Here, we see a woman wrongfully detained while husband is imprisoned for his faith, and now there is no one to take care of her sick father and 4-year-old child. Zhang Xin, the Party secretary of Yucheng County, Yan Chang’an, secretary of Committee for Political and Legal Affairs, Wang Yanbin, director of the Municipal Public Security Bureau and other corrupt officials are more evil than fascists, Japanese invaders and criminals. Why are their hearts so harsh and brutal? The Lord Jesus Christ taught us: “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7, KJV).
II. At 8 a.m. on September 21, 2010, buildings of a church in Qinggang Town, Yuhuan County of Zhejiang province were torn down by dishonest government officials, both in official uniforms and in plain clothes, led by the director of the County Public Security Bureau and the director of Bureau of Religion.
III. As I was writing this letter to you, I received news that some Christians at a church in Nanyang have been arrested. At around 4:00 p.m. on September 22, 2010, the director of Gaoxin District Public Security Bureau of Nanyang led a group of police officers and thugs without police uniforms and arrested over 30 Christians along with Zhang Tianling, the head of the house church. Some were sentenced illegally to ten days of detention, while some were only sentenced to four days. An American pastor and a Russian pastor were also detained, and no one currently knows their whereabouts. The police also beat some Christians who were at the gathering. These events all happened on the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival Day, when families get together to celebrate this traditional holiday.
IV. At about 3:30 p.m. on September 26, 2010, 20 Christians were gathered in Qu County, Da Prefecture of Sichuan province. A little more than 10 people from Youqing Township Police Station and Zhongtan Xiang arrived at the residence of Tong Taiyun, located at Group 1, Tianshan Village, Zhongtan Xiang, where the Christians were gathered. After declaring the meeting to be an illegal gathering, the officers smashed a desk and 30 stools and hauled the debris away. They also confiscated about 500 yuan of cash that these brothers and sisters were carrying with them, plus books and notebooks. They did not give a receipt for what they confiscated.
They took the 20 Christians to the police station where they interrogated them. During the interrogation, two brothers were beaten and the director of the police station put a chain around the neck of a one to strangle him. Five brothers were released after their families posted money for bail (four people paid 500 yuan and the other paid 200 yuan, giving a total of 2,200 yuan). The remaining 15 people were released around midnight.
On September 29th, some of the Christians from this church went to the police station for receipts. The police station gave a receipt for the money they confiscated, but did not issue one for the money that was paid for bail. Some Christians went to the police station later that day to request the items that were confiscated. The officers present immediately arrested five Christians and sent them to a detention center, charging them with “disrupting the public order under the guise of religion.” These Christians were sentenced to a 15 day detention period and the police also abused them verbally.
There are many similar cases where the legitimate rights of churches and Christians are trampled upon audaciously. Events like these happen every day in China. You may have read reports concerning these events while reading confidential briefings. I hope you conduct a thorough investigation of these incidents.
Dear President Hu Jintao, I’m writing this letter to you in tears. Are you the leader of our Chinese nation? How come you do not know that scoundrels who report to you are suppressing innocent Christians and ordinary people? In Sang Xiang in Xia Prefecture of Shangqiu, the head of the village occupies the land of a Christian church without paying or giving a replacement. He shut down the church illegally. Two believers were arrested and detained for 10 days and the church was closed down. When the believers petitioned to the higher authorities, the believers were suppressed and their request was silenced. The director of the Public Security Bureau conspired with the court so that they would refuse to accept the case. Then, the PSB again colluded with the court and rendered an unjust ruling. These issues have yet to be resolved.
Dear President Hu, if you do not divest yourself of these corrupt officials, your position will not be firm and the country cannot be in peace. The corruption is incompatible with the law enacted by you, the Central Party Committee, the NPC, the CPPCC and the State Council. I think you are not aware of the aforementioned cases because the corrupt officials involved mislead their superiors and deceived their subordinates. May God open your heart and your eyes. In Matthew 7:12, Jesus Christ teaches all humanity saying, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets” (KJV).
I would like to mention a repulsive policy of our country – family planning. Just as everybody knew the emperor had no clothes, it is clear to everyone that family planning policies have ruined the country and brought misery to the people. Mr. Chen Guangcheng, the blind human-rights activist who exposed the violence employed in the implementation of family planning policies in Linyi District, Shandong Province, is not a Christian, but I am a Christian and I would like to speak on his behalf. Jesus Christ teaches us to speak for the weak and right the wrongs done to widows and orphans. God sternly tells us in Zechariah 7:10 that we should “… oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart.”
President Hu, I hope you can intervene in person and order the local authorities of Linyi, Shandong to stop persecuting this blind man. He has already been imprisoned for over three years – what glory do the officials receive for bullying a blind person in front of the entire world? They have left the people of China with no dignity.
Finally, I appeal to you on behalf of Uyghur Christian Alimujiang Yimiti in Xinjiang province, who has been sentenced to 15 years in prison because he evangelized among Uyghurs – his very own people. The local government accused him, a common farmer and company employee, of leaking top state secrets overseas. We Chinese Christians support our national sovereignty and stand against terrorism in Xinjiang, but we are afraid that the injustice imposed on the people of Xinjiang by the local government undermines the stability of the province, as history proves it has. The persecution of Alimujiang is an example, though it is only the tip of the iceberg of government corruption and the abuse of power by both Han officials and Uyghur officials. People there know, “heaven is high, and the emperor is far away.” Therefore, please review the case on your own for the sake of justice and peace in Xinjiang.
President Hu, my letter is a little drastic and may have hurt your pride. Please tolerate my words and listen to a humble and ordinary citizen of your country with the generosity of a ruler. As long as the righteousness of God can prevail in China and China is ruled by honest politicians who have cultivated character, and who love the people and the country, I will be satisfied even if I die in my quest to achieve this. In Psalms 106:3, it is written, “Blessed are they that keep judgment, and he that doeth righteousness at all times.”
Pastor Zhang Mingxuan
Chinese Christian House Church Alliance
Telephone: 135 1101 2447
To download the entire letter, click here.
ChinaAid urges Christians and people of conscience worldwide to read the open letter and share the message. Government officials in China are called to uphold justice and to be accountable for their harsh actions. Persecution is alive and well in China, and the international community should be recognize it and take appropriate action on behalf of the oppressed. We ask Christians to continue to pray for their brethren.