Ihmisoikeusjärjestö Christian Solidarity Worldwide raportoi viime perjantaina tapahtuneesta kiinalaisten kirkonjohtajien massapidätyksestä. CSW:n mukaan kyseessä on rauhanomaisesti kokoontuneiden ihmisten perusoikeuksien loukkaus, ja se vetoaa kansainvälistä yhteisöä kiinnittämään huomion Kiinan viranomaisten lisääntyvään painostukseen rekisteröimättömiä uskonnollisia yhteisöjä kohtaan.
Ohessa CSW:n tiedote
CHRISTIAN SOLIDARITY WORLDWIDE
August 9 2004
MORE THAN 100 CHINESE CHRISTIANS ARRESTED AND THREE OTHERS SENTENCED FOR EXPOSING PERSECUTION
More than 100 house church leaders were arrested in Tongxu County, Kaifeng City, Henan Province on August 6.
The group was beginning a two week retreat when more than 200 military police, Public Security Bureau (PSB) and other officers surrounded the venue. No arrest warrants or official identification papers were shown during the arrest.
In a separate development, three Christians were sentenced to between one and three years for giving information on a public court case against a fellow Christian to a foreign magazine, also on August 6.
The raided meeting of the 100 house church leaders was held at the home of Mrs Xiang Zi, the wife of one of the retreat organisers. She was arrested along with their three children, aged between eight and eleven years. According to an eyewitness cited by the reporting organisation, China Aid Association, the children were crying and greatly distressed as they were dragged away.
The retreat was sponsored by the non-denominational house church network, Henan House Church. Those arrested came from various provinces, including Heilongjiang and Liaoning, as well as different areas throughout Henan in central eastern China. Amongst those arrested are the leaders Zhang Wanshun of Sanmenxia City, Mr. Zhang Tianyun of Nanyang City and Mr. Yu Guoying of Tongxu County.
A church leader from Yima County, Sanmenxia City in Henan was also arrested on his way to the retreat. He was expected to bring copies of Christian literature, including the Christian Life Quarterly Magazine, to the retreat participants. His house was raided and significant amounts of Christian literature were confiscated.
This is the most recent in a series of mass arrests of unregistered Protestant Christians in China and is yet further proof of the increased crackdown on the house churches.
On the same day as this mass arrest, three Chinese Christians were sentenced to terms of between one and three years imprisonment by the Intermediate People's Court of Hangzhou City in Zhejiang Province. Liu Fenggang, Dr. Xu Yonghai and Zhang Shengqi were sentenced to terms of imprisonment of three years, two years and one year respectively.
The three were convicted under Article 111 of the Chinese Criminal Law. According to China Aid Association, who publicised the verdict, their crime was given as "illegally soliciting and providing national intelligence to overseas organisations". They are alleged to have committed the crime by providing public court information about the trial of a house church Christian, Ms Li Baozhi, to an overseas magazine, Christian Life Quarterly.
The court verdict papers also refer to Liu Fenggang writing about reports on the demolition of house churches in Zhejiang Province in 2003.
Defence attorneys and some family members were present in the court when the chief judge announced the verdict at about 10 am on Friday. All three men plan to appeal.
Liu Fenggang, who is a leader of a house church, was arrested in October 2003 while based in Beijing, when researching a Christian crackdown in Hangzhou's Xiaoshan district. Liu's wife only received official notification of his arrest in mid-February.
Dr Xu Yonghai, a psychiatrist, and Zhang Shengqi, an internet writer, were active members of Liu's house church when they were arrested in November 2003 in Beijing and Jilin respectively.
An eyewitness in the court reported that the three men appeared to be in good health.
The three men had been tried at a secret three-hour hearing on the morning of March 16 2004 at the court in Hangzhou. Family members were prohibited from attending the trial. Ms Li Mingzhi and Ms Ye Jifei arrived at the courthouse on Tuesday to support their respective son and fiancé. However, instead of being granted admittance, the two were detained for three hours and sent back to the train station to return to their homes thousands of miles away. In addition, Ms Li Shanna, wife of Dr. Xu Yonghai, was denied admittance to the court hearing and taken on a forced 'tour' all day.
CSW is urging those concerned to raise these cases and the broader crackdown against unregistered Christians with the Chinese authorities. The injustice against the three sentenced at Hangzhou is particularly apparent as the information they are convicted of reporting came from a public trial.
Stuart Windsor, National Director of CSW, said: "This is the third time we are aware of in recent months that China has arrested a large group of house church Christians simply for meeting together for their own encouragement. This is further evidence of the growing crackdown on house churches in China. CSW urges the international community to call on China to address the worsening pressure it is placing on unregistered believers and its flagrant violation of basic human rights standards."
For more information, please contact Richard Chilvers, Communications Manager, CSW at email@example.com or ring 020 8329 0045 or visit www.csw.org.uk
CSW is a human rights charity working on behalf of those persecuted for their Christian beliefs. We also promote religious liberty for all.