“The same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world” (1 Peter 5).
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Pingdingshan, Henan Province Prosecution Case Escalates, 7 Christians Arrested for 'Cult' Crimes
PINGDINGSHAN, HENAN, China, June 4, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ -- In an alarming escalation of a Hebei province persecution case in in which more than 200 police and government officials surrounded and raided a house church meeting and apprehended more than 50 believers, ChinaAid has learned that seven of them have been formally arrested for "cult" crimes.
After the Daying village house church, in Rendian town, Ye county, in the city of Pingdingshan was raided on April 14, eight of the 54 Christians who were taken into police custody were criminally detained after an investigation. They were being held in either the Ye county detention center or the Pingdingshan detention center.See our previous report online.
ChinaAid has just learned that one of the eight detainees was released, but the remaining seven have all been formally arrested and charged by the Ye County Public Security Bureau with "organizing a cult to undermine law enforcement."
Qi Siyu, from Fuxin, Liaoning province, was released after her friends paid 3000 Yuan (US$470) in unspecified fees. Qi is about 18 years old and is an orphan.
The seven charged with cult crimes are:
Han Hai, male, aged 60, previously administratively detained twice, was also sentenced to a labor camp for three years, now held in the Ye County Detention Center.
Hu Linpo, from Singapore, male, aged 49, the house church's main preacher, was detained in 1989 for 30 days. Criminally detained on April 18 and is now held in the Ye County Detention Center.
Yang Lianbin, male, aged 23, working in Zhengzhou. Now held in the Ye County Detention Center.
Zhang Mian, female, aged 37, owner of the home where the church meets. Criminally detained on April 20, now held in the Pingdingshan Detention Center.
Cao Xia, female, in her 50s, owner of another home where the church meets. Police seized from her home CDs of Hu Linpo preaching and a computer used to make copies of the sermon CDs. Police also confiscated a Chinese-made Liebao SUV parked outside Cao's home that belonged to a Christian man who was there to listen to the preaching. Cao was criminally detained on April 20 and is now held in the Pingdingshan Detention Center.
Wang En, female, in her 20s, taken from Cao Xia's home, said to have helped make copies of Preacher Hu's sermon CDs. Held in the Ye County Detention Center.
Li Dan, female, in her 20s, taken from Cao Xia's home, probably for copying CDs. Held in the Pindingshan Detention Center.
The families of Preacher Hu, Zhang Mian and Wang En have already signed documents hiring lawyers for their detained family members.
ChinaAid is deeply disturbed by and strongly condemns the serious escalation of this persecution case. Blind activist and lawyer Chen Guangcheng, now in the United States, recently called on the United States and the international community to focus diplomatic attention on legal reforms that matter most to Chinese citizens, not just those that benefit global trade.
ChinaAid founder and president Bob Fu said, "We are shocked by this new wave of persecution against China's house churches. The 'cult law' has already been used to detain tens of thousands of individuals, often without trial or due process. Now it is increasingly being used to target Protestant 'house church' gatherings."
He added, "Our independent investigation finds that these house church members who are under arrest have not done anything wrong nor anything illegal. They are being persecuted for nothing more than the exercise of their right to religious freedom by peacefully gathering to worship God. We urge the international community to pay close attention to this case so that those who have perpetrated this persecution are held accountable."