(June 1, 2017—Huaibei, Anhui) After deceiving a pastor into police custody, a recent report revealed that authorities in China’s eastern Anhui province formalized his arrest on May 18.
Charging him with “intentionally sabotaging public and private property,” government personnel formalized the arrest of the pastor of Caili Church, Chen Shixin, after keeping him in criminal detention for more than a month.
The conflict began when Chen filed a case to obtain part of a piece of land from a group of influential people in a neighboring district, who had illegally taken it from Jin Xingcai, the man with the initial rights to the plot. The church won the case, granting them about 7 acres, and they weeded it and removed some dead trees. Now, Jin is trying to reclaim his property free of charge.
The illegal occupiers of the land, however, had planned to build a temple, prompting one of them, Li Wenqian, to allege the pastor, Chen damaged about 494 acres. Li persuaded Jin to accuse Chen as well. As a result, police summoned Chen to the police station for questioning at 9 a.m. on April 12.
Later that afternoon, Chen phoned his relatives for help at 1 p.m., at which point, a group of more than 10 villagers and Caili Church members convened at the station and attempted to negotiate with the officers. Among them, Chen’s sister and Gu Quanxiao, a church attendee, were administratively detained for 10 days.
After a month of being held arbitrarily in police custody, authorities officially arrested Chen on May 18.
Prior to Chen’s detention, Li attempted to exact revenge by hiring a woman surnamed Ren to kidnap Chen’s elder brother. However, authorities and villagers intervened.
When a ChinaAid reporter phoned the local public security bureau to inquire about this case, an official said that he could not discuss it over the phone.
ChinaAid reports abuses such as those suffered by Chen Shixin and Caili Church in order to openly condemn arbitrary arrests and promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law.