China Aid Association
——A letter to the international community from Zhang Mingxuan, president of Chinese House Church Alliance
In the name of Jesus, peace be with you—all the people of the world who love peace, people of countries where there are religious freedom and freedom of human rights, Christian churches and people from all walks of life!
My name is Zhang Mingxuan, a servant of Jesus Christ, a pastor and president of Chinese House Church Alliance.
In China, I was once an ignorant ordinary citizen and a barber. Yet the Lord shed His grace on me and called me to be one of His on the evening of June 14, 1986 at 5 o’clock when I was converted from an atheist to a Christian. Since that moment on, I have lived for Christ for 22 years!
For the sake of telling people about Jesus Christ as the true and living God, I have been arrested and detained many times illegally by the police and the authorities in charge of religious affairs!
Those very government officials, the very agents of law enforcement, being guilty of bribery themselves have committed numerous crimes despite the Chinese government’s decree of religious freedom for the citizens, and regardless of the Central Communist Party’s policies and the dignity of law. Their numerous violations of law have caused damage to the state, harm to the civilians, and agony to the Christian believers—who cannot go home to live but have to be kept apart from their spouses and children.
Many church leaders have been imprisoned, forced to work on labor camps, and had their homes searched. The Christians are said to be the enemy of the Communist Party. The small number of corrupt government officials try to grab money by seizing Christians, beating them up, sending them into exile, and harming them in person, in opposition to Hu Jintao’s call for building up a “harmonious society.” They label Christianity as a cult and persecute the church and its members by using such excuses as cracking down on illegal gatherings; they beat up Christians, revile them, put them in jail, and send them to labor camps. As of this moment, a large number of Christians are still in prison and education-through-labor centers.
During the 22 years of my life as a Christian, I have been arrested, beaten, and incarcerated for 12 times altogether by the Public Security Bureau. In 1986, I was imprisoned in Tanghe County, Henan Province, for 185 days before I was released when pronounced innocent.
In 1998, I rode a distance of 3,150 kilometers on bike to preach the Gospel. When I returned to Henan, I sold my house and property, and used the money to finance my evangelical crusade. Having covered 20 provinces, I arrived in Chaoyang District, Beijing, in 1999.
For the next 10 years of preaching in Beijing, I was arrested 11 times by the police, detained and then stalked twice, driven away or kicked out by police-induced landlords 12 times.  During the 15 days of the 2005 Spring Festival, I was forced to move out of my rented places five times. After that, Xiao Lu, a member of Chaoyang District Homeland Security Defense Brigade, promised to give me 500 yuan for relocation, forcing me to leave their district. I had no choice but to move to Yanjiao Township, Sanhe City, Hebei Province, where I lived for over two years.
In 2007, the day set for ordaining pastors for the House Church Alliance coincided with the day of the 17th National Congress of the CPC.  I had sent a notice to the Alliance’s co-workers across the country to come to Beijing for study. As a result, many of them were watched, followed and detained by the police and authorities in charge of religious affairs.
Besides, the Alliance had fostered five orphans. They were disturbed when Director Gan (Department of Sanhe City United Front Work), Chief Wei (Bureau of Religious Affairs), Chief of the Police, and the township government appeared at the orphanage on Oct. 14 and Oct. 28, 2007 respectively, and threatened not only the children studying computer and English there but also the foreigners teaching them. The authorities forced the foreigners to leave, got hold of the phone numbers of the students’ families, and called them with threats.  After driving the students away, the government officials followed me around, kept me under their watch, and cut off the power supply to the orphanage, forcing it to relocate.
I had to appeal to the leaders of Sanhe City. However, instead of resuming the power supply, they threatened us even further. We then sued the Bureau of Electricity Services in the name of civilian rights, but the justices of the court would not accept our case! They forced the landlord to kick us out. On Christmas Day, they drove the orphans out of the school!
In all helplessness, I wrote two open letters to President Hu Jintao. While the letters did not produce any result, they all the more persecuted the orphans and the church and they even forced two of my sons to move! On November 6, 2007, the orphanage was moved to a residential compound in Beijing. However, on the next day, the police officers from Tongzhou District of Beijing tried to force the landlord to drive us out.
The landlord said: “We don’t want to offend the PSB. If we don’t drive you out, we would lose our jobs!” The landlord was so scared that he couldn’t eat or sleep and he had a heart attack!
We had to move out, but the orphans didn’t have a place to live in. So they had to live in the residences of two of my sons. However, the PSB in Sanhe began to force the landlord to drive out my sons! I tried to argue with the PSB agency, the agency in charge of religious affairs and Department of United Front Work.
They claimed that they never tried to drive me out.  Yet, in the back, they again tried to force the landlord and threatened him.  At last, we had to move again!  Director of the local police station and the head of the township government threatened the landlord of Dongbai Church in Beijing that he should not let us spend the Christmas there! They didn’t allow us to gather!  They didn’t allow me Zhang Mingxuan to go to church!  They didn’t allow me to preside over weddings for my believers!  They said: “If Zhang Mingxuan went there, we will stop renting the house or demolish the house!”
The Spring Festival was drawing near and in a period of a little over one month, we moved six times.  We had planned to spend a happy new year with my family and the orphans.  However, at 17:36 on the afternoon of February 1, 2008, Brigade Leader Li from Yanjiao Public Security Branch of Sanhe, together with two other policemen, broke into my new residence on the ground they were there to check residence registration. They asked me: “When did you move here?” I said: “Do you want me to move again?” They said: “I don’t want to drive you away.”  They sounded very kind.  By 12: 30 in the afternoon of Feb. 2, Yu Jinxia, the landlady came and tried to kick us out in the name of a rent issue.  At 21:40 at night, both the landlord and his wife came and tried to get me out!  They said the PSB found the managers of their work unit and did not allow them to go to work.  The managers also threatened them: “If you don’t drive out Zhang Mingxuan, the landlord is then not allowed to go to work here!”  I told the landlord to write a statement that “PSB wants to drive out Zhang Mingxuan,” but the landlord did not dare to write this for fear of the PSB’s retaliation! This is what they mean by religious freedom in China!  The government magistrates persecute the common people with their power and they think we are the enemies of the Communist Party because we preach Jesus Christ and do charities!  Citizens don’t even have the rights to rent a residence!  And this is what is meant by Mr. Hu Jintao’s “harmonious society” and “life in a moderately prosperous country!”  These corrupt officials disregard the law and regulations of the state.  They deceive their superiors and delude their subordinates, harm the ordinary people and crack down on Christian church!  They put the leaders of the state to shame! And they make it impossible for the love of God to spread in China!
Because of this, Zhang Mingxuan, president of Chinese House Church Alliance, strongly appeals to the friends in the international community to pray for China and for the success of 2008 Olympics in China and for the real freedom of religion in China!  We pray to God that those brothers and sisters imprisoned for preaching Jesus Christ will be released soon and that God will make leaders in the Chinese government to treat the believers in a correct way and that God will make China a country full of love, justice, freedom and prosperity!

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Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
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