|House churches in China are often targetted by authorities as
illegal gatherings. (Photo: China Aid)
Reported in Chinese by Qiao Nong. Translated by Carolyn Song. Edited in English by Ava Collins.
(Wenzhou, Zhejiang—May 16, 2016) In a written testimony, the leader of a house church in China’s coastal Zhejiang was beaten by a group led by the local Communist Party Secretary.
He Jiyi, leader of Xialing Christian Church, released a written report detailing a visit from Shuangyu Villiage Party Secretary Zheng Hele, and a village resident named Xu Jianyun. While attempting to pressure He into withdrawing a lawsuit that Xialing Church recently filed, Xu began to beat He thoroughly.
Later, when attempting to report the incident to the police, He discovered that the officer who had taken down his account had changed many of the details, to the point that He refused to sign it as a true account.
A translation of He’s account can be found below in its entirety.
China Aid reports on human rights violations such as the beating of He Jiyi in order to expose abuses and promote rule of law and religious freedom.
I, He Jiyi, am the person in charge of Xialing Christian Church in Lucheng District, Wenzhou. On the morning of May 8, 2016, I was preparing to go downstairs after the Sunday worship service I participate in at Xialing Church ended sometime past 11 a.m. The Party Secretary of Shuangyu Village, Zheng Hele, led Xu Jianyun, a village resident, and several other people in encircling Brother Lin Nansong, an elder at Xialing Church, and me on the second floor of the church. They asked us to withdraw a lawsuit that Xialing Church had submitted to the court two days earlier (May 6th, 2016) against an administrative demolition notice from the Shuangyu office in Lucheng District. This group showed us a withdrawal request notice that they had printed out for us to sign. I refused to withdraw the action and refused to sign the paper.
At that time, someone called me on the phone. I tried to go downstairs, but Xu Jianyun stopped me at the top of the staircase and wouldn’t let me go. He then spoke profanities and slapped my face very hard in front of everybody. My glasses suddenly flew off and [he continued] hitting me until I saw stars and almost fainted. Later, someone pulled Xu Jianyun away from me and the endless beating finally stopped. However, Xu Jianyun kept shouting, saying he would break my legs and going so far as to threaten my life. At that time, a lot of people were at the scene, including my wife. The church’s surveillance camera also recorded part of the event.
After 3 p.m., my wife called the police from the church to report [the incident]. Afterwards, she went to the Huanglong police station to give [her statement about the event]. I also went to the Huanglong police station to give my statement and submitted a copy of the church’s surveillance footage from that time. However, there were too many discrepancies between the “facts” on the statement the policeman recorded and my actual account, and I refused to sign the statement. Here, I provide this written report material as a supplement and request the public security bureaus to recognize the criminal facts of Zheng Hele and Xu Jianyun’s beating of the leader of Xialing Christian Church in Lucheng District and to punish these people severely according to the law, especially the prime culprits Zheng Hele and Xu Jianyun. I ask that penalties from the public security bureau be imposed upon them and request that they give me a public apology to ensure that similar incidents will not occur in the future. [I ask this] in the name of safeguarding the church’s legal rights, the citizens’ right to freedom of belief and my personal safety as a citizen of China.
Case Informant: He Jiyi, leader of Xialing Christian Church in Lucheng District