June 29, 2010
HENAN — On the afternoon of June 25, several elderly Christians in Yucheng County, Shangqiu, were threatened in their homes by PSB officials, only days before the court date of one of four house church member who were arrested in March.
The local police officers intimidated the elderly Christians by saying they had joined a cult. They tricked the elderly people into leaving their fingerprints on the statement of guarantee that the police officers had prepared beforehand, in which these Christians are said to have claimed they would “give up the house church.”
On March 25 of this year, Yucheng County Public Security Bureau of Shangqiu, Henan province extorted Christians to make money, by arresting Christians from the local house churches and then demanding the families pay for their living expenses while in detention. After receiving payment, they released most of the detainees, at which point the case should have been closed.
However, four Christians, Gao Jianli, Hua Yulan, Liu Yunshan and Zheng Yumei, when asked if they still believed in Jesus, refused to be swayed by their threats. Instead they boldly affirmed their faith. As a result, they were detained for 15 days and then sentenced to one year of Re-Education through Labor.
Gao Jianli, who applied for an administrative reconsideration, will appear in court for his case on Thursday, July 1, in Xuchang. The Tianmiao Town Police Station has notified the families of the Christians and other church members that they are not allowed to sit in the court as visitors. They threatened several elderly Christians, saying, “What you believe in is a cult. Don’t believe in it anymore. You even goad the children to believe in the false religion.”
The following is an account by Yang Huiwen, a Christian human rights attorney. His account details the day the police from Yucheng County Public Security Bureau came to the homes of several elderly Christians in order to threaten them, including his grandmother Liu Fengyun.
Persecution Testimony by Yang Huiwen
Time: about 4 o’clock
Two people in plain clothes, one in white, one in gray, led by their team leader, entered the home of the two elderly people. They didn’t show any identifications. As they entered the room, they said, “We are from the Public Security Bureau and we are here to investigate something. Who took down your name?” (He was taking out the list of names as he said this.)
The elderly person said, “Changjun told us to write it. He asked for our ID and we wrote the names according to the ID.
“How did you give the fingerprint?”
“We are illiterate. Changjun told us to do the fingerprint.”
“How old are you?”
“Did you attend the gathering in the home of Hua Yulan?”
“We have not attended their gathering. Both of us are sick and are in poor health. We can’t travel far.” Then, one of them said that our church donated 5,000 yuan to the earthquake disaster zone in Sichuan. The elderly person said, “We learn from good people, are patriotic, and love our religion. We, the believers of the Lord, teach people to be good citizens in every step we make. So we made double donations.”
At this time, the PSB officers said, “We did the same. We donated over 1,000 yuan to the earthquake disaster zones in Sichuan.”
The elderly person said, “You have salaries, but we have nothing!”
When the elderly person asked them when Jianli could be released, one of the officers answered that Jianli and his people are still being reformed. “If they are doing well, it will take a few more months. If they are not doing well, it may take a year.”
One of them said, “Qingmin’s family has built two buildings. How did they do it? How come they are so rich?”
The elderly person answered, “He is working on his brother’s land!”
Then, one of them said, “You people are baptized in the sink built by yourselves and the pastor puts a few drops of water on your faces. This is a cult. You people weep when you pray to the Lord and you even train your children. Please reform and correct yourselves!”
Finally, they told the two elderly people to give their fingerprints. The two elderly people did so without looking at what was written on the paper. After that, the two police officers left.
Time: about 5 o’clock
One of them was dressed in police uniform and two others were in plain clothes. One of them was in white and the other was in gray with short sleeves. They entered the home of an elderly person. The person in police uniform came in with a stern face and, in all seriousness, he yelled, “Is Tian Changjun home?” (He didn’t show any identifications.)
The elderly person answered, “Yes, he’s home.”
The person in police uniform bellowed, “Tell him to go with us to the commune. We are here to investigate something and we’ll let him come back in an hour.”
The elderly person was scared and asked, “What happened? Can’t we do it at home?”
The person in the police uniform said, “We can’t do it at home and we need a desk and a chair.”
After the elderly person begged him again and again, he finally agreed to conduct the interrogation at home. The person in the police uniform left and got into a white vehicle. The vehicle was parked outside the door and the two people in plain clothes stayed behind to interrogate.
The person in white plain clothes asked, “Tian Changjun, did you tell people to give their fingerprints and write their names?”
Tian Changjun answered, “Yes, it was I.”
The person in white plain clothes asked, “Whose name did you write first?”
Tian Changjun said he wrote Yu Yuan’s name first and then his mother’s.
The person in plain clothes wrote the names of several people and Tian Changjun wrote five names. At this time, the person in white plain clothes asked (pointing at the rest of names), “Who wrote these names?”
Tian Changjun said he didn’t write those and it was the people themselves who wrote them.
The person in white plain clothes asked, “How do two of you contact each other?”
Tian Changjun said they met in the street and the other person told him the name. After that, the person just left.
The person in gray plain clothes asked, “Has Xuewen come to your house?”
The elderly person said, “No.”
Then the person in gray plain clothes said, “It is said that Xuewen and Wang Zhuang are in-laws by marriage of their respective children.
The elderly person said she doesn’t know that.
Then the person in gray plain clothes said in all seriousness and in a loud voice, “This may not be possible. You must tell me the truth.”
Then the person in white plain clothes said: “Have you ever attended their gatherings?”
Tian Changjun said, “No”.
The person in gray plain clothes said, “Jianli and Yunhua have reformed themselves. You shouldn’t mess up in believing what you believe in now. This is all superstition. They are fooling you around. You baptize people in a sink and train children and let children attend your gathering. Which school is that?” The person in gray plain clothes then said, “Do you really believe this?”
The elderly person said she has not attended the gatherings. The person in gray plain clothes said, “I see you can’t go out because there are young children around you. How old are you?”
The elderly person replied, “73.”
The person in gray plain clothes asked, “How many sons do you have?”
The elderly person said, “Two.”
The person in gray plain clothes asked, “What are their names?”
The elderly person said, “Hongjun and Changjun. The eldest son is now over 40 and Changjun is 36.”
The person in gray plain clothes said, “What’s your name?”
The elderly person replied, “Liu Fengyun.”
The person in white plain clothes said, “You must tell us the truth. Otherwise, you’ll be responsible for all the consequences.”
At last, they told the illiterate elderly person to do a fingerprint without showing her what was written there. The elderly person was very obedient and did whatever she was told to; she pressed her finger wherever she was told to press, and pressed her fingers as many times as she was told to.
During this time, I went to my grandma’s place (Liu Fengyun). On entering the house, I saw two people in short sleeves were sitting on chairs. One of them was in white and the other was in gray. The person in white was sitting facing my uncle (Changjun) and the person in gray was sitting facing my grandma (Liu Fengyun). As soon as I entered the door, I asked, “What are you?”
The person in white plain clothes said, “We are here to investigate something.”
Grandma said, “They are investigating people who believe in the Lord. Don’t you get involved in this.”
I asked, “Where do you come from?”
The person in white plain clothes said he was from the Public Security Bureau.
I said, “I know you are from the Public Security Bureau, but which Public Security Bureau?”
The person in white plain clothes said, “I’m from Yucheng County Public Security Bureau, and just now a person in police uniform came over and he’s now in the vehicle outside and he wants the two of us to investigate something here.”
I asked them whether they had identification papers with them. The person in white plain clothes said, “Yes. I’ll take them out.” As he said that, he was writing something. Then after a while, he said he didn’t want to take them out.
I said, “You should present your identifications once you enter this door.”
The person in white plain clothes took out his paper where it is written “Yucheng County Public Security Bureau.” Then he put it back into his bag. The person in gray plain clothes said, “We are handling a case. According to general rule, you should stay away from this. Could you go out?”
I said I would go watch TV. Then I went into my room.
Press Release May 19, 2010 – Henan Christians, Arbitrarily Sentenced to Re-Education through Labor, Sue Municipal Committee
ChinaAid urges the Yucheng County authorities to cease their practices of intimidation and threats, particularly in targeting the elderly. We ask Christians worldwide to pray for strength for the Yucheng house church Christians and to pray for the safety and quick release of those sentenced to re-education through labor.
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