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Liu Xiaobo

(Shenyang, Liaoning—June 28, 2017) ChinaAid calls for the full, immediate, and unconditional release of Chinese writer, democracy advocate, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo in order to honor his wish to seek medical treatment abroad.

Liu’s lawyers and doctors confirmed on Monday that he had been
permitted medical parole for his stage four liver cancer and is receiving treatment in China’s northeastern Liaoning province. After the prison extensively denied him adequate medical attention, Liu received his diagnosis on May 23.

As a result of his illness, Liu has requested to travel abroad and consult prominent specialists in the United States.

Last year, Shang Baojun, one of Liu’s lawyers, told Radio Free Asia that his client’s medical condition qualified him for medical parole, which China grants to patients whose illnesses have become critical. However, China demanded that Liu first confess his guilt, which he refused to do. Now, Liu’s wife Liu Xia says that his cancer is terminal, making it critical that he receive emergency medical attention from world-renowned specialists and providing only a narrow window of time through which to secure his freedom.

Today, the Chinese Communist Party released a propaganda video purporting to show Liu Xiaobo performing various activities, including exercising and visiting the doctor. In it, he repeatedly says the detention center is taking good care of his health. However, his current condition testifies that this is simply a ruse to cover up the government’s abuses and that he was coerced into making such claims.

Additionally, they said that he would not be allowed to travel abroad for treatment.

During the mid-1980s, Liu Xiaobo garnered attention for his sharp and unique literary critiques and received a PhD in literature from Beijing Normal University in 1988. In the student democracy protests that swept China and culminated in the Tiananmen Square Massacre, Beijing Normal University became a political hotbed, and Liu Xiaobo served as a leader who pioneered a hunger strike and delivered charismatic speeches. As a result, he was jailed for nearly two years.

Upon his release, he continued to write, concentrating his works on human rights and politics.

Years later, Liu Xiaobo launched a petition for the government to re-examine its treatment of the massacre, for which authorities arrested him again in 1995. In 1996, he was extra-judicially sentenced to three years of forced labor for supporting Taiwan’s independence.

From 2003-2007, Liu Xiaobo was president of the Independent Chinese PEN Center and has served as an editor of a pro-democracy magazine since the 1990s.

The police took him into custody again in 2008 after he penned Charter 08, a petition signed by 303 Chinese intellectuals and dissidents that called for reform of China’s human rights. It was released on Dec. 10, 2008, in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the U.N.’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Two days beforehand, the police seized Liu Xiaobo and charged him with “inciting subversion of state power,” of which the Beijing Municipal No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court found him guilty. He was handed an 11-year prison sentence with two years’ deprivation of political rights.

Because of his stalwart, non-violent defense of human rights, the Nobel Committee awarded him the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. China barred him from attending the ceremony in Oslo, where he was honored with an empty chair. Liu Xia has been under house arrest ever since the news of her husband’s award reached China and is only allowed to visit her husband once a month.

Out of concern for his continued safety and health, ChinaAid urges the U.S. Congress, Senate, President Donald Trump, and other international politicians to continue to pressure China for the unconditional release Liu Xiaobo in order to save his life, respect his right to seek top-notch medical treatment, and allow him the opportunity to live in freedom.

ChinaAid exposes abuses, such as those suffered by Liu Xiaobo and his wife, in order to mobilize politicians and individuals to take effective action to help the persecuted and promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law.

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Congressional-Executive Commission on China

■ Chairs Urge President Trump To Seek Immediate Transfer to U.S. for Treatment, Medical Parole for Other Detained Dissidents in Poor Health

June 26, 2017

(Washington, DC)—Senator Marco Rubio and Representative Chris Smith, the chair and cochair respectively of the bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), issued the following statements about the reported transfer of 2010 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo from Jinzhou Prison in Liaoning province to a hospital in Shenyang municipality for treatment of late-stage liver cancer. Dr. Liu is almost 8 years into his 11-year prison sentence for “inciting subversion of state power” in connection with his efforts to press for political reform and human rights protections. The Chairs urge President Trump to seek Dr. Liu’s immediate transfer with his wife Liu Xia to the United States to explore treatment options, and call on the Administration to seek medical paroles for other detained dissidents facing serious health issues, such as Zhu Yufu, Wang Jing, Huang Qi and Li Guozhi (Yang Hua).

“I urge President Trump to seek Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo’s immediate humanitarian transfer to the United States,” said Senator Rubio. “Even with the news today that Dr. Liu has been released from prison for medical treatment, serious questions remain. How long have Chinese authorities known of his grave health condition? What are the terms of his medical parole? Will his wife, Liu Xia, be able to permanently oversee his care or will she remain under house arrest, where her own health has been a serious concern? While we are pleased Dr. Liu is no longer behind bars, this is hardly an act of mercy on the part of the Chinese government. His 8 years of imprisonment—due to his eloquent appeals for non-violent political reform and protection of basic rights—remain a travesty of justice and a stain on China's rights record. Liu Xiaobo, and countless others like him who courageously seek peaceful change in China, are heroes worthy of honor, not criminals deserving to be tortured or unjustly punished.”

“Liu Xiaobo's parole is neither justice nor compassion; the Chinese government is just making sure this champion of democracy does not die in prison. It is a tragedy that his unjust imprisonment may now be tantamount to a death sentence,” said Chris Smith. “Hopefully initial reports are wrong and there are cancer treatments available and I urge President Trump to seek his immediate transfer to the United States, with his wife Liu Xia, so that all options can be explored. But, we should all be clear—China's treatment of those who peacefully seek legal and political reforms is shameful and sadistic—particularly if you look at the tortured bodies and broken minds of detained human rights lawyers. There is no more time left for excuses, the international community must hold Beijing accountable before it silences all those, like Liu Xiaobo, who dare to say that embracing human rights and democracy will make China stronger, more prosperous, and a more respected global power.”


The CECC has been closely monitoring Liu Xiaobo’s efforts to promote democracy, his arrest, and sentencing. On December 10, 2010, Liu Xiaobo, a writer, former literature professor, human rights activist, and one of the chief authors of Charter 08, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in absentia for his “long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China.” He was the first Chinese national and resident in China to receive the prestigious award. However, during the awards ceremony, his chair remained empty and he was unable to claim his prize; he was serving an 11-year sentence, after being found guilty of “inciting subversion of state power.”

His wife, the artist and poet Liu Xia, was placed under illegal home confinement in Beijing shortly after the Nobel Committee’s announcement of the prize in October 2010. She remains there almost seven years later, despite never having been charged with a crime. Troubling reports indicate that her health has deteriorated during her years of arbitrary confinement.

Earlier this year, the CECC launched an initiative called “Free China’s Heroes,” in which individual political prisoners were highlighted to raise awareness about the specifics of their cases and the status of their unjust imprisonment. Liu Xiaobo, who was initially detained seven years ago on December 8, 2008, was the first prisoner featured. His case is also part of the Commission’s Political Prisoner Database (PPD) that contains searchable records on more than 1,400 political and religious prisoners currently known or believed to be detained or imprisoned in China.

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The Christian Times
Jardine Malado
27 June, 2017

■ A Christian pastor, who has been incarcerated in China for almost four years, was reportedly tortured by prison officials after he attempted to file an appeal on his case.

Zhang Shaojie, a pastor of Nanle County Church, is currently serving a 12-year sentence at Xinxiang Prison of Henan Province.

Members of the congregation clean the unofficial catholic
church after Sunday service in Majhuang village, Hebei
Province, China, December 11, 2016. Picture taken December
11, 2016. (Reuters/Thomas Peter)
According to China Aid, Zhang was charged with "swindling" and "assembling a crowd to disrupt the public order" in July 2014 after he led a group of Christians to Beijing to file a petition over a land dispute with the county government.

Zhang's church was officially a part of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement, a group of churches officially sanctioned by the Chinese government. He is one of the first Three-Self pastors who received such a sentence since the time of the Cultural Revolution.

The pastor appealed his sentence in August 2014, but his attempt has been met with failure. Despite the unsuccessful attempt, Zhang recently decided to file another appeal, a move which angered prison officials.

Zhang's daughter, Zhang Huixin, who currently lives in America under her English name, Esther Zhang, has sent a plea to China Aid on his behalf.

"My father applied to file an appeal, but the government officials said that they would not process the appeal unless he would plead guilty. They are treating him harshly in order to bend him," said Esther.

Esther said that Wen Songshan, the recently appointed director of the Henan Provincial Prison Management Bureau, received an order from the secretary of the Development Research Center of the State Council, Huang Shouhong, to torture her father.

The prison reportedly enacted a "strict supervision" policy for Zhang, which includes the infliction of several different methods of torture.

"They cruelly torture my father," Esther said. "He's unable to see the sun during the day. He's deprived of sleep for 24 hours at a time. The prison gives him only one steamed bun a day and intentionally starves him. According to people who have been released from that prison, my father is barely alive, suffering both mentally and physically," she added.

Zhang Cuijuan, the pastor's sister, said that he was already in poor condition when she visited him in prison recently. She noted that Zhang's eyes burned from sleep deprivation and he is suffering from depression. She added that they were forbidden to discuss the case and that the prison guard held the phone throughout the entire conversation.

Esther noted that family members were only allowed to visit once a month for 30 minutes. She claimed that Zhang was forbidden to talk about anything inside the jail, and she was also forbidden from telling the pastor about anything outside the prison.

The pastor's daughter is hoping that her testimony will raise awareness about her father's situation and put pressure on the Chinese government to release him.

The Chinese government has been known to commit human rights abuses on inmates. China Aid founder Bob Fu recently recounted the "sadistic torture" suffered by Christian lawyer, Li Heping, during his time in prison.

Li, who was arrested along with 250 other human rights lawyers in July 2015, reportedly endured confinement in frigid cells, beatings, electric shocks, sleep deprivation and being chained in stress positions.

According to a report by Freedom House, as many as 100 million people in China, including Protestant Christians, are facing "high" or "very high" levels of persecution.

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The Associated Press
By Didi Tang and Mark Schiefelbein
June 27, 2017, 6:24 a.m. E.D.T.

■ SHENYANG, China — As recently as February, Liu Xiaobo's brother dismissed reports that the imprisoned Chinese Nobel Peace laureate might be ill. Then came the bombshell on Monday that Liu has been diagnosed with late-stage liver cancer and transferred to a hospital on medical parole.

A brief video has also emerged of Liu's wife tearfully telling a friend that no treatment — surgery, radiation or chemotherapy — would work for Liu at this point.

The news has shocked and angered Liu's supporters and human rights advocates, who are questioning if China's best-known political prisoner received adequate care while incarcerated, or whether the authoritarian government deliberately allowed the 61-year-old to wither in prison.

Chinese prisons are notorious for their poor health care, lack of nutritious food and abusive conditions, and it's highly common for prisoners to re-emerge in a deeply weakened state. That may be especially true for the prison in a small northeastern city where Liu has been serving an 11-year sentence for inciting subversion of state power.

A serious illness like liver cancer could be easily missed at the prison despite checkups, although it's equally possible that Beijing has neglected care for Liu on purpose, said political dissident Hu Jia, who has served time in jail with liver issues.

"Given his influence and his massive following, it's possible that Beijing does not want him to return to society healthy, physically capable and energetic," said Hu. "Beijing considers him to be a political rival."

Hu is calling on Beijing to be open and transparent about Liu's medical care. Liu is in a hospital in the northeastern city of Shenyang and has not communicated directly with the outside.

The local prison management bureau could not be reached for comment. Police cars were seen Tuesday parked outside the China Medical University No. 1 Affiliated Hospital in Shenyang, where Liu reportedly was being treated. An Associated Press journalist could not locate Liu in the sprawling facility, and nurses on likely floors for cancer patients said they had not had a patient by the name of Liu Xiaobo.

Liu, a literary critic and essayist, was already in less than robust health when he was detained and later sentenced to 11 years in prison in 2009, recalled Liu's former lawyer Mo Shaoping. The defense team had argued for Liu to be released while awaiting trial on the basis of poor health, but was turned down, he said.

Still, Mo said he was unaware of Liu's cancer diagnosis until it was revealed on Monday.

"We would think there must be symptoms for earlier detection and that a responsible prison would not have discovered liver cancer only in the very late stage," he said.

Other than general concerns for Liu's health, there had not been alarming news until this week. In February, responding to rumors that Liu underwent computerized tomography scans for possible illnesses, Washington-based Radio Free Asia reported that Liu's brother had dismissed the rumors.

Chinese authorities have a troubling record when it comes to the treatment of political prisoners.

Untold numbers died in China's vast system of labor camps following the founding of the People's Republic in 1949. The crushing of the 1989 Tiananmen pro-democracy movement led to new rounds of repression.

More recently, Cao Shunli died in a Beijing hospital in 2014 after being detained for her human rights activism. It is widely believed she died of illness after authorities denied her medical attention.

The next year, Tibetan lama Tenzin Delek Rinpoche died in a Chinese prison while serving a life sentence. He had been denied medical parole a year earlier, and his family was refused permission to view his remains, death certificate or medical records.

When prominent rights lawyers Gao Zhisheng left prison in 2014, he could barely walk or speak a full, intelligible sentence. He has since recovered, but is still under house arrest.

In a rare interview in 2015, Gao celebrated that he's still living. "Every time we emerge from prison alive, it is a defeat for our opponents," he told The Associated Press.

Sophie Richardson, China director at New York-based Human Rights Watch, said Beijing should be held to account for letting a peaceful critic like Liu fall gravely ill.

"From those who ordered Liu's prosecution to those who denied him adequate treatment in detention ... there are many people to be held accountable for their role in this cruel travesty," Richardson said in a statement.

Supporters have called for Liu to be allowed to seek treatment overseas, although President Xi Jinping's administration has taken a hard line on refusing permission for dissidents to travel.

U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Mary Beth Polley called for Liu's release as well as that of his wife, Liu Xia, who lives under house arrest.

China should "provide them the protections and freedoms such as freedom of movement and access to medical care of his choosing, to which they're entitled under China's constitution and medical system and international commitments," Polley said.

China's foreign ministry did not directly address questions about whether Liu would be allowed to leave the country for treatment. Spokesman Lu Kang said any Chinese citizen's exit from and entry into the country is "ruled by law."

He warned that Liu's case is a domestic affair and demanded that China's judicial independence be respected. "No country shall interfere with China's internal affairs through any individual case," Lu said.

Hu, the dissident, said that for now, it's imperative that the government make public the names of the eight oncologists in charge of Liu's cancer treatment in Shenyang and that Liu is brought as soon as possible to Beijing, which has the country's best medical professionals and is his home.

"We cannot take the government's word. We must be able to judge if these eight people are truly qualified," Hu said. "We want to make sure Liu Xiaobo is seeing the best doctors in the best hospital with the best equipment possible."


Tang reported from Beijing.

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The Washington Post
By Jared Genser and Yang Jianli
June 27 at 2:49 pm

■ Jared Genser, founder of Freedom Now, is pro bono counsel to Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia. Yang Jianli is president of Initiatives for China.

On Monday, China released Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo from prison on parole, after he was diagnosed as being in the final stages of liver cancer. He is being treated at a hospital in the northeastern city of Shenyang, but he has asked Chinese authorities to let him travel to the United States with his wife, Liu Xia, for medical treatment. President Trump should immediately urge Chinese President Xi Jinping to grant Liu’s request on humanitarian grounds.

Student leader Joshua Wong, right, attends a protest outside
China's Liaison Office in Hong Kong on Tuesday demanding
the released of Liu Xiaobo from custody. (Bobby Yip/Reuters)
It is incredibly disturbing that the Chinese government failed to diagnose its most famous political prisoner as having cancer until it was too late for meaningful treatment. Liu Xiaobo is a scholar and democracy activist who was imprisoned primarily for his role in drafting Charter 08, a political manifesto that called for greater rule of law, respect for human rights and an end to one-party rule in China. He was detained two days before the public release of Charter 08, and in December 2009, he was sentenced to 11 years in prison for “inciting subversion of state power.”

On Oct. 8, 2010, the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced that Liu was the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Within two weeks, Liu Xia was placed under house arrest and has been held without charge or trial for almost seven years.

Liu Xiaobo’s imprisonment coincided with China’s rise as a global power on the world stage. In recent years, China has raised its military budget past a record high of $145 billion annually and vigorously contested competing claims in the South China Sea. In its “One Belt, One Road Initiative,” China is investing hundreds of billions of dollars into infrastructure projects across Asia, Africa and Europe. And it has created the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, whose 57 members have contributed more than $100 billion, making it half the size of its rival World Bank. It has also positioned itself to be a key interlocutor with difficult states such as Iran and North Korea.

At home, however, Xi has faced serious economic and environmental challenges, as best highlighted by an extraordinary rise in domestic dissent. In response, Xi has unabashedly increased repression of religious and ethnic minorities, human rights lawyers and civil society activists; China reportedly now spends more than $120 billion annually on domestic security.

As China’s power and influence have increased, Western democracies have collectively engaged in self-censorship on human rights, choosing to prioritize what they have clearly believed to be their more important interests over their purported values. In the past five years, since Xi became president, discussions on human rights have been relegated to fruitless dialogues with the Chinese foreign ministry, which has never had any power over domestic concerns.

President Barack Obama led the West in playing down concerns with China on human rights and was conspicuous by his unwillingness to help Liu, his fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureate. He raised Liu Xiaobo’s case publicly only once after he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and whatever he might have said privately clearly had no impact. At the same time, he did not join 134 Nobel laureates on a letter to Xi, did not publicly condemn Liu Xia’s detention under house arrest and even threatened to veto a bill, passed by the Senate, to rename the street in front of the Chinese Embassy “Liu Xiaobo Plaza.”

Chinese security officials even exploited the United States’ repeated refusal to help the Lius in torture sessions with detained Chinese dissidents. They explained to their victims that they surely must have observed that Washington had refused to help the world’s only imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize laureate and his wife — so what hope could they expect if they were to be disappeared, tortured or imprisoned? The American refusal of support to the Lius gave Xi license to act with total impunity to repress domestic dissent.

Much as that unknown protester stood in front of the tank in Tiananmen Square, Liu Xiaobo volunteered to be the first signatory of Charter 08, knowing that by symbolizing the Chinese people’s demands for human rights, democracy and the rule of law, he would pose a singular threat to the one-party system. For that courageous stand, he paid with his and his wife’s freedom, and he is about to pay with his life. Now is the time for Trump and the United States to honor his sacrifice and his dying wishes and to implore Chinese authorities to allow him to obtain medical treatment here and live out his remaining days in freedom.

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The Guardian
Benjamin Haas in Hong Kong
Monday 26 June 2017 12.47 EDT
Last modified on Monday 26 June 2017 15.44 EDT

■ Human rights groups and fellow dissidents react after Liu Xiaobo is transferred to hospital with late-stage liver cancer

China’s dissident community has expressed anger, shock and sadness that the country’s best-known political prisoner – the democracy activist and Nobel peace prize winner Liu Xiaobo – has been transferred to hospital after being diagnosed with terminal liver cancer.

An undated handout image of Liu Xiaobo, the 2010 Nobel
peace prize winner. Photograph: EPA
Liu, 61, had been serving an 11-year prison sentence for inciting subversion of state power. His lawyer, Mo Shaoping, who has been in contact with Liu’s family, said he was now in the late stages of disease. Another of Liu’s lawyers, Shang Baojun, said he had been diagnosed on 23 May.

“This type of late-stage cancer is very difficult to treat. It would have been easier if it was discovered sooner,” Shang said. “It’s extremely serious.”

News of Liu’s diagnosis was met with an outpouring of anger from activists in China and abroad.

“This is simply a political murder, this is how the Communist party deals with its enemies, a prisoner of conscience dying just outside a jail cell,” said Hu Jia, a fellow activist who has known Liu for more than a decade and previously collaborated with him. “I’ve been to prison in China. The medical care is terrible and I’m sure China’s leaders were hoping for this outcome.”

In a rare statement, the Norwegian Nobel committee, which awarded Liu the prize in 2010, said: “Liu Xiaobo has fought a relentless struggle in favour of democracy and human rights in China and has already paid a heavy price. Chinese authorities carry a heavy responsibility if Liu Xiaobo, because of his imprisonment, has been denied necessary medical treatment.”

Liu is being treated by a team of eight doctors at the First Hospital of China Medical University in the north-eastern city of Shenyang, according to the provincial prison bureau, which also confirmed his medical parole.

Friends and family worry he may not receive the best care. He has asked to return to his home of Beijing to undergo medical treatment, but the authorities refused permission to do so.

“It adds injury to insult that Liu Xiaobo, who should never have been put in prison in the first place, has been diagnosed with a grave illness,” said Patrick Poon, a China researcher at Amnesty International. “The Chinese authorities should immediately ensure that Liu Xiaobo receives adequate medical care, effective access to his family and that he and all others imprisoned solely for exercising their human rights are immediately and unconditionally released.”

Liu was arrested in 2008 after writing a pro-democracy manifesto called Charter 08, in which he called for an end to one-party rule and improvements in human rights. Following a year in detention and a two-hour trial, he was sentenced to 11 years in December 2009.

Little has been heard from him since, and he was represented by an empty chair during the 2010 the Nobel peace prize award ceremony. In his absence, Liu’s final statement to the court entitled “I have no enemies” was read in place of his speech.

“Enemy mentality will poison the spirit of a nation, incite cruel mortal struggles, destroy a society’s tolerance and humanity, and hinder a nation’s progress toward freedom and democracy,” one section read. “That is why I hope to be able to transcend my personal experiences as I look upon our nation’s development and social change, to counter the regime’s hostility with utmost goodwill, and to dispel hatred with love.”

Zhang Xuezhong, a legal scholar and human rights activist, said Liu had been a symbol of hope for many years.

“It’s known that Liu Xiaobo and his family have made a tremendous sacrifice for the cause of freedom and democracy for China,” said Zhang. “This is unfortunate news for him and his family, and it’s a blow to China’s democracy movement, as so many people have placed hope in him, and rightfully so.”

Sophie Richardson, the China director at Human Rights Watch, said: “The Chinese government’s culpability for wrongfully imprisoning Liu Xiaobo is deepened by the fact that they released him only when he became gravely ill.”

A foreign ministry spokesman was “not aware of the situation” when asked about Liu’s case at a daily press briefing.

A literary critic and scholar, Liu was previously jailed for two years in the wake of the 1989 Tiananmen Square democracy protests and subsequent massacre.

His wife, Liu Xia, has been under house arrest since her husband won his Nobel prize and has reportedly suffered from depression and insomnia because of her isolation. She has not been formally charged with a crime despite spending the past seven years confined to her apartment.

Any meetings between the couple, usually one a month, are watched over by prison guards who interrupt any conversation they deem unsavoury. They are not allowed to touch.

More than 1,400 political dissidents are detained in China, according to a US congressional database, but the number is probably higher because information about topics deemed sensitive by the ruling Communist party is heavily censored.

Since coming to power in 2012, the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, has overseen a wide-ranging crackdown on civil society, including the arrest of feminist activists, human rights lawyers and book publishers.

Liu’s 2010 Nobel prize infuriated the Chinese government and relations with Norway quickly deteriorated. Normal relations were only restored in December 2016, when the country said it “attaches high importance to China’s core interests and major concerns, will not support actions that undermine them, and will do its best to avoid any future damage to the bilateral relations”.

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The New York Times
By Chris Buckley and Austin Ramzy June 26, 2017

■ Beijing — Liu Xiaobo, the jailed Chinese dissident who received the Nobel Peace Prize for his writings promoting democracy, has been given medical parole to be treated for late-stage cancer, his lawyers and the prison authorities said on Monday.

Mr. Liu, who had been imprisoned in northeast China, was found in late May to have advanced liver cancer and was hospitalized soon after, said one of the lawyers, Shang Baojun, citing Mr. Liu’s relatives. Mr. Shang said the outlook for Mr. Liu appeared grim.

“It seems to be very serious, very serious,” he said. “If it was an early stage of cancer, then that would be easier to treat. But at this late stage, the treatment seems much more difficult.”

Mr. Liu, 61, was hospitalized in Shenyang, the capital of Liaoning Province, Mr. Shang said, as did Mr. Liu’s other lawyer, Mo Shaoping. Later, the Liaoning Prison Administrative Bureau confirmed on its website that Mr. Liu had cancer and had recently received medical parole.

“Liu Xiaobo is receiving treatment according to a medical plan,” the prison bureau said. It said a team of eight cancer specialists had advised on his treatment. The English-language website of Global Times, a Chinese state-run newspaper, also reported the administration’s statement.

News of Mr. Liu’s apparently terminal illness drew immediate and passionate calls from supporters and human rights groups for him to be freed.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee said it was “delighted” to learn that Mr. Liu was out of prison but “strongly regrets” that it took serious illness for that to happen. It called on the Chinese authorities to release him without conditions, saying he had a standing offer to travel to Oslo to receive his prize.

“The Chinese government’s culpability for wrongfully imprisoning Liu Xiaobo is deepened by the fact that they released him only when he became gravely ill,” Sophie Richardson, the China director at Human Rights Watch, said in an emailed statement. “The government should immediately allow Liu Xiaobo and his wife, Liu Xia, to seek proper treatment wherever they wish.”

Patrick Poon, a China researcher at Amnesty International, also said the Chinese government should ensure that Mr. Liu received adequate medical care and access to family members.

“The authorities must also stop their shameful and illegal house arrest of Liu Xiaobo’s wife, Liu Xia,” Mr. Poon said, “and ensure that she is able to receive visitors, travel freely and reunite with Liu Xiaobo.”

Friends of Ms. Liu, a poet and artist who is being held at her Beijing apartment, say that the extreme isolation has worn on her and that she has depression and heart disease.

Mr. Mo, the lawyer, said that “in principle,” Mr. Liu could receive visits from family members, but he added that he was uncertain whether his wife was with him.
Liu Xiaobo, the Chinese dissident
who received the Nobel Peace
Prize for his writings promoting
democracy, in an undated
photograph released by his family
in 2010. via Reuters
The news of Mr. Liu’s condition could create an additional worry for President Xi Jinping, who is focused on a congress in the autumn that is all but sure to appoint him for a second term as Communist Party leader and to promote a new generation of senior officials.

In his first five years in power, Mr. Xi has pursued an intense crackdown on dissent. But even in hospital confinement, Mr. Liu could serve as a new rallying point for China’s beleaguered rights activists, angered that his cancer was not detected until it was seemingly too late to save him.

“I wish this was fake news. Liu Xiaobo is the pride of the Chinese people,” said Bao Tong, a former senior aide to Zhao Ziyang, the Communist Party leader who was ousted during the 1989 pro-democracy demonstrations centered on Tiananmen Square.

Mr. Bao added that he wanted to know whether Mr. Liu’s cancer had initially been diagnosed in an earlier stage, when it might have been more treatable. “It’s a great pity that we didn’t know about this in the early or intermediate stages,” he said.

Repeated calls to the No. 1 Hospital of the China Medical University in Shenyang, where the lawyers said Mr. Liu was receiving treatment, went unanswered or encountered a busy signal.

Mr. Liu, a lecturer at Beijing Normal University, was a prominent figure during the student-led protests that swept Beijing and other Chinese cities in 1989. He was famous for fiery speeches to large groups and helped start a hunger strike days before the protest in Tiananmen Square was crushed by the military. He negotiated a peaceful retreat from the square and is credited with saving many lives.

After the crackdown, Mr. Liu was jailed for 21 months, the first of several prison terms he served for his pro-democracy organizing.

In 2008, he helped write a petition calling for widespread political liberalization in China. That document, Charter 08, was initially signed by hundreds of scholars and activists. The police arrested Mr. Liu, and a year later, he was convicted of “inciting subversion of state power” and sentenced to 11 years in prison.

In 2010, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for what the committee called “his long and nonviolent struggle for fundamental human rights in China.”

Mr. Liu was represented at the Nobel ceremony in Oslo by an empty chair. He was the first Nobel Peace Prize recipient to not attend the ceremony or be represented by family since the 1935 prize, when Hitler barred the German pacifist Carl von Ossietzky, who was being held in a concentration camp, and his supporters from accepting the award. Mr. von Ossietzky, whose health had degraded after years of abuse in detention, died in 1938 of tuberculosis.

In Mr. Liu’s absence, his statement from his 2009 trial, titled “I Have No Enemies: My Final Statement,” was read as his Nobel lecture.

“Hatred can rot away at a person’s intelligence and conscience,” he wrote. “Enemy mentality will poison the spirit of a nation, incite cruel mortal struggles, destroy a society’s tolerance and humanity, and hinder a nation’s progress toward freedom and democracy. That is why I hope to be able to transcend my personal experiences as I look upon our nation’s development and social change, to counter the regime’s hostility with utmost good will, and to dispel hatred with love.”

Chinese prisons are allowed to grant medical parole to inmates who are seriously ill or near death. Mr. Shang, the lawyer, said last year that Mr. Liu’s failing health could have qualified him for medical parole even then. But Mr. Liu refused to admit guilt as a condition for release, Mr. Shang said.

Mr. Liu’s father, Liu Ling, died in 2011 after developing liver cancer, Hong Kong newspapers reported at the time, citing a relative. The United States National Cancer Institute says that patients with advanced and end-stage liver cancer can receive treatment to ease the symptoms, but that “treatments are not likely to cure the cancer.”

The Chinese government will probably censor information about Mr. Liu’s illness to ensure that it does not cause wider political ripples, said Liang Xiaojun, a human rights lawyer in Beijing. No reports about Mr. Liu’s cancer and hospitalization appeared in the state-run news media, and many Chinese, especially younger people, have little or no understanding of Mr. Liu and his role in the 1989 protests.

“I think there will be a big reaction in the democracy movement,” Mr. Liang said. “But the government will probably shut down news about this, or dilute it, so it won’t have too much impact domestically.”

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Zhang Shaojie
(Photo: ChinaAid stock)

(Xinxiang, Henan—June 24, 2017) An imprisoned Christian pastor is struggling to stay alive after his prison was ordered to torture him using various methods, including starvation and sleep deprivation, ChinaAid learned recently.

Zhang Huixin, who currently lives in America under her English name, Esther Zhang, sent ChinaAid a desperate appeal on behalf of her father, Nanle County Church pastor Zhang Shaojie. He has been in Xinxiang Prison of Henan Province for almost four years, serving a 12-year sentence.

Nanle County Church was an officially sanctioned branch of China’s government-run Protestant Churches, the Three-Self Patriotic Movement. Zhang Shaojie was one of the first Three-Self pastors to be sentenced like this since the time of the Cultural Revolution.

When Zhang Shaojie’s church became involved in a land dispute with the county government in 2013, he led a group of Christians to Beijing to file a petition. The trip angered local officials, who conspired to have him detained on November 16, 2013 and eventually charged him with “swindling” and “assembling a crowd to disrupt the public order” on July 4, 2014.

Recently, after an unsuccessful attempt to appeal his sentence in August 2014, Zhang Shaojie began the appeal process again, a move which brought the wrath of his prison down upon him.

“My father applied to file an appeal,” Esther Zhang said, “but the government officials said that they would not process the appeal unless he would plead guilty. They are treating him harshly in order to bend him.”

According to Esther Zhang, the recently appointed director of the Henan Provincial Prison Management Bureau, Wen Songshan, received an order to torture Zhang Shaojie from the secretary of the Development Research Center of the State Council, Huang Shouhong.

The prison began a policy of what they call “strict supervision” for Zhang Shaojie, which includes the infliction of several different kinds of torture.

“They cruelly torture my father,” Esther Zhang said. “He’s unable to see the sun during the day. He’s deprived of sleep for 24 hours at a time. The prison gives him only one steamed bun a day and intentionally starves him. According to people who have been released from that prison, my father is barely alive, suffering both mentally and physically.”

Zhang Shaojie’s sister, Zhang Cuijuan, said that when she recently visited her brother in prison he was in poor condition. “He was in a terrible mental state. His eyes burned from sleep deprivation. He said that he is forbidden to sleep during ‘strict supervision.’ He was depressed, and I had no way to help him. The prison guard held the phone throughout our entire conversation and we were forbidden to talk about his case.”

Esther Zhang said that family members were only allowed to visit once a month for 30 minutes. “During the visits, we can’t tell him anything. We were only allowed to greet each other. [The guards] would immediately cut off the phone if he complained about life in prison or how they starved him. The guards watched us closely. My father was forbidden from telling me anything of the prison and I was forbidden from telling him of anything of the outside.”

Zhang Shaojie is a member of ChinaAid’s campaign for prisoners of conscience, the China 18. His case has been adopted by Congressman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.).

Esther Zhang hopes that her testimony will raise awareness about her father’s condition and pressure China to release him. ChinaAid supports prisoners of conscience such as Zhang Shaojie, as well as their families, in order to combat the persecution inflicted by the Chinese government and expose abuses against Chinese Christians.

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Ruan Haonan
(Photo: ChinaAid)

(Jiangmen, Guangdong—June 24, 2017) In a sequel to the criminal detention of a Christian who hosted church events in his house, officials in China’s southern Guangdong province raided the home of the church’s pastor and took him into custody last week.

Armed with a search warrant, a joint force of officials from the local religious affairs bureau, police station, and national security bureau arrived at the Jiangmen, Guangdong, branch of Fengle Church and intercepted its pastor, Li Wanhua, on June 14. After ransacking the church’s possessions, they took him away and charged him with participating in a cult and “using superstition to sabotage law enforcement.” The next day, he was criminally detained.

The authorities also said that the rooms where church members held service were “too much like a church” and ordered them returned to their original state. In addition, they ransacked through items in his house.

According to his wife, they made her record an oral statement.

On June 12, officials seized Ruan Haonan, a Fengle Church attendee who hosts Christian gatherings in his home, which is known as Mengai House. At the police station, government personnel interrogated Ruan, forced him to sign a transcribed account of the questioning.

His wife, Luo Caiyan, was also brought to the police station, and the officers tried to coerce them both into confessing they had participated in an “evil cult,” saying they could not be released otherwise. They both refused, and Ruan was criminally detained while Luo, who is currently pregnant, was released.

Since Ruan’s detention, Luo has not received any official notifications, even though officials said they had been sent in the mail.

ChinaAid reports abuses, such as those suffered by Ruan Haonan, Li Wanhua, and their families, in order to stand in solidarity with persecuted Christians and promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law.

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By Xie Yanyi

■ Editor’s note: Xie Yanyi is a Chinese human rights who was persecuted during a nationwide crackdown on rights defenders termed the “709 case” to memorialize its start date, July 9, 2015.

According to Fox News, during the afternoon of June 19, 2017, American college student Otto Warmbier’s family issued a statement saying that Warmbier, who was secretly detained in North Korea for 17 months, died at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center less than a week after returning home. The (medical0 report indicated that Warmbier had “extensive loss of brain tissue.” If that is true, Otto’s death does not only imply that the North Korean government has committed the crime of intentional homicide but also abuse! No matter what kind of information the North Korean government is trying to convey to the outside world, the severity of the case has exceeded the law and human rights, but directly challenges the baseline of human sympathy. Therefore, every citizen of the international society, every human being, will have to realize the danger of totalitarian terrorism. 

As everyone knows, anything could happen under a totalitarian regime, including the Holocaust—which happened in Nazi gas chambers and concentration camps—and other massacres, torture, experiments on human beings, and the removal of human organs. This kind of atrocity is a solid reality that is threatening every one of us. The governments and the international society should no longer use diplomatic language to avoid responsibility or employ the policy of appeasement. We need to use effective measures and eliminate totalitarian terrorism as soon as possible! Its threat is as abominable as the murder of two Chinese countrymen, Lee Zingyang and Meng Lisi, which was committed by an extreme terrorist organization [Editor’s note: Lee Zingyang, 24, and Meng Lisi, 26, were two Chinese Christians murdered in Pakistan for preaching, for which ISIS claimed responsibility on June 8]. After the event, some media sources were indifferent to the life and dignity of mankind, displaying an anti-humanity stance and leading the public opinion astray.

Totalitarian terrorism was not only hostile to its subjects; members of the ruling classes are not exempted from its cruel suppression once they lose power. For instance, Jang Song-thaek, a former leading figure in the government of North Korea, was said to be publicly torn apart by dogs as a warning for the North Korean public. Kim Jong-nam, brother of the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, was poisoned under the eyes of the public in a Malaysian airport. Totalitarian terrorism was always ready to use extreme and secretive measures. Laws, human rights, and humanitarianism mean nothing to them.

It can be inferred from the murder of American college student Otto that the North Korean public is living in constant terror. I hereby call on the international society, the United Nations, and international human rights groups to fulfill the assigned duties the Charter of the United Nations and the International Bill of Human Rights. The international society should shoulder the responsibility and dispatch to North Korea a special human rights investigation team that involves all relevant parties. The investigation team should investigate the truth behind the atrocity and bring to account all the people who participated in the murder. The government of North Korea should cooperate with the investigation unconditionally, or the international society will take necessary military measures!

June 20, 2017

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Liu Yongju
(Photo: ChinaAid)

(Haozhou, Anhui—June 23, 2017) Officials barred a Chinese church elder from travelling to Hong Kong for a Christian conference on account of his church activities in the eastern province of Anhui, ChinaAid recently learned.

When Liu Yongju, a house church elder, attempted to renew a permit Chinese citizens must possess to enter Hong Kong and Macau, officials told him he would not be permitted to travel, despite the fact that he had all of the required documents.

Zhang Mingxuan, a prominent Chinese minister from Henan who has been targeted by the government, said, “(The public security bureau) limits preachers, preventing them from going abroad. I am almost 70, but they are still controlling me, preventing me from travelling abroad. The Mainland Chinese government controls Christians both to maintain stability and out of the fear the Christians will unite.”

In the past, Liu’s church received pressure to join the state-run and censored Three-Self Church, which it has refused.

Likewise, the local government in Henan province recently ordered 20,000 house church Christians to join the Three-Self Church, violating their right to religious freedom as stated in Article 36 of the Chinese Constitution.

ChinaAid exposes abuses, such as those experienced by Liu, his church, and the Christians in Henan, in order to stand in solidarity with persecuted church members and promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law.

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Four of the arrest papers, which list the crime
of “picking quarrels and provoking troubles.”
From top left, clockwise: Huang Xiangju,
Zhang Di, Guo Chungai, and Zhao Wenjing.

(Shangqiu, Henan—June 22, 2017) After a month-long detention in China’s central Henan province, authorities officially arrested five church leaders on June 8. Additionally, after demolishing the church building, officials cut off power in the Christians’ new meeting place.

Four leaders of Shuangmiao Church in Shangqiu, Henan were arrested during the demolition of their in-construction church building on May 5. The four were Huang Xiangju, Zhao Wenjing, Guo Chungai, and Lü Yuexia. Additionally, a pastor from a neighboring church, Zhang Di, was arrested with the other four, after he helped with the construction.

An anonymous member of Shuangmiao Church spoke to the reporter on June 17, and revealed that the church members had attempted to gather after the demolition but were forbidden to do so. Using wood, they tried to construct a temporary meeting place in front of the original church, but officials prevented the meetings.

“We don’t have any light, either,” the church member said. “The government workers took away the electricity meter and cut off the wires.”

ChinaAid reports on abuses against Christians such as those arrested at the demolition of Shuangmiao Church in order to support and raise awareness for house churches in China and Christian believers facing government persecution.

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Wang Hong, the wife of
incarcerated pastor Chen
Shixin, holds Christian
literature that survived a
raid on the couple's home.
(Photo: ChinaAid)

(Huaibei, Anhui—June 22, 2017) The local government in China’s eastern Anhui province dispatched more than 10 officers to the home of an incarcerated church pastor on June 14 and searched it, confiscating important materials.

Wang Hong, the wife of Caili Church pastor Chen Shixin, told a ChinaAid reporter that group of more than 10 public security bureau agents showed up at her front door on June 14, armed with a search warrant, and demanded that she take them to her husband’s room. “They searched every corner of his office and took away the computer’s main console. They also thoroughly searched other rooms. I told them that I couldn’t find the key when they approached my closet, but they pried it open with special tools anyway. They took away the confiscated objects and gave us an inventory list.”

In addition, documents proving the church had contracted its land were confiscated.

Another Christian surnamed Gu alleged that the officials found and wanted to confiscate more than 10 Christian books but were hesitant to do so because confiscating religious items would require the presence of someone from the religious affairs bureau. He also said they photographed the house but reduced the number of pictures taken because the home did not double as a church.

Chen was taken into police custody on May 12 after an elaborate dispute over land contracted by the church, which escalated into the attempted kidnapping of his brother. Six days later, the public security bureau arrested him on the falsified charge of “intentionally sabotaging public and private property.” His case is currently at the local procuratorate, which will decide whether or not to prosecute him.

ChinaAid exposes abuses such as those suffered by Chen and Wang in order to stand in solidarity with persecuted Christians and promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law.

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Matt Hadro
June 15, 2017

■ About 300 police officers and inspectors reportedly destroyed a Christian church building in May, beating parishioners who tried to stop the demolition and detaining 40, according to an international non-profit dedicated to promoting religious freedom and human rights for Christians in China.

Shangqiu, China - Local authorities in China’s Henan province reportedly destroyed a Christian church building last month, beating parishioners who tried to stop the demolition and detaining 40, the group China Aid says.

“The church was completely razed, and a church member likened the scene to the Japanese invasion of China during World War II,” China Aid said.
China Aid, an international non-profit dedicated to promoting religious freedom and human rights for Christians in China, reported that Shuangmiao Christian Church in Shangqiu, which was still under construction, was destroyed May 5 by 300 police officers and inspectors.

Parishioners tried to stop the demolition but many suffered beatings as a result, and were “pushed to the ground,” the report stated. Forty people were detained, although no one has yet been formally arrested.

(Credit: BriYYZ via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0).)
The government had reportedly deemed the church an “illegal structure” and ordered it removed. Church property, as well as that of parishioners and construction workers, was confiscated. The Chinese Communist Party also claimed that the church had failed to pay a “road usage fee” that villagers wanted imposed.

The church’s pastor had previously tried to discuss the matter with officials and was detained for “false charges of assaulting the police station, limiting the freedom of others, and attacking a village representative.” After the attack, he is still in detention but has not yet been formally arrested.

Persecution of Christians in China varies by province, but Henan has seen an uptick in recent years.

In April 2016 Li Jiangong, a pastor in Zhumadian, another city of Henan province, lost his wife when the couple tried to save their church from being bulldozed in a government-ordered destruction. He “barely escaped” death, according to the most recent annual report from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

And in Zhejiang province, more than 1,500 churches have been desecrated or demolished. Churches in Zhejiang have been ordered to stop displaying crosses, and Christians there have been detained.

Overall, the situation of religious freedom in China has deteriorated even more in recent years, USCIRF has noted in its 2017 annual report, as the country’s leader Xi Jingping has “further consolidated power” and worked to promote the “sinicization” of religion.

Religious leaders and human rights activists have reportedly been harassed and detained, and churches, especially Christian house churches, have been targeted for destruction or vandalism.

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The destroyed fence of Bainian Church, along with the
excavator used to destroy it.

(Jiaozhou, Shandong—June 16, 2017) Several Christians received injuries on Wednesday when they attempted to negotiate with officials who had torn down their church’s fence and proceeded with a construction project without their permission.

At 5 a.m. on June 14, authorities and government-hired construction workers used an excavator to demolish Bainian Church’s fence without the church’s permission and began construction on a building. A Christian family inside the church at the time came out to stop the workers. Soon afterwards, other church members and local residents arrived at the church and negotiated with the officials, halting the construction process.

In response, the workers hit several Christian women and injured their hands.

Bainian Church Pastor Zhan Gang fears the church,—which has existed for more than 100 years—may now be at risk for demolition

Bearing a name that translates to “100-year church,” Bainian Church was founded by Swedish missionaries. For a time, it operated as a state-censored Three-Self Church, but it eventually broke ties with the government and became one of China’s unofficial house churches. Repeatedly, the church has been asked to move, but the members have refused.

When a ChinaAid reporter reached out to the Jiaozhou Municipal Ethnic and Religious Affairs Bureau for commentary, an official said, “We already investigated this in the morning. No church member was hurt. It was a neighborhood dispute instead of a religious problem … [the fence] might have caused problems for the construction. Not a single church member was hurt.”

ChinaAid reports abuses, such as those suffered by Bainian Church members, in order to stand in solidarity with persecuted Christians and promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law.

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Yuan Haonan
(Photo: ChinaAid)

(Jiangmen, Guangdong—June 16, 2017) Incarcerated Christians endured harsh interrogations in China’s southern Guangdong province this week, during which officials ordered them to confess that they had participated in an “evil cult,” a charge often levied against Christians for their church activities.

On June 12, authorities stalked Ruan Haonan, a member of Fengle Church who hosts Christian gatherings in his home, and dragged him to the police station. There, they questioned him and tried to force him to confess to participating in cult activities. When he refused, they officially detained him and transferred him to a detention center.

In addition, officials coerced him into signing a transcript of the interrogation on June 13.

At around 4 p.m. on June 12, officials broke into and searched Ruan’s home, which Fengle Church members also know as Mengai House. According to a man surnamed Li, who pastors Fengle Church, no one was meeting at the time of the break in, but the authorities ransacked the house and confiscated several Bibles.

Later that night, Ruan’s pregnant wife, Luo Caiyan, was taken from their home. She was released when her husband was moved to the detention center, but the police refused to give her family members any legal documents.

Additionally, Luo’s sister and Li’s wife were also taken into custody and interrogated. Despite never mentioning any cult activities, they were forced to sign a document saying they had participated in a cult in order to be released.

ChinaAid reports abuses, such as those suffered by the members of Fengle Church, in order to stand in solidarity with persecuted Christians and promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law.

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Christian Daily
By Lorraine Caballero
14 June, 2017 4:14 am

■ Officials in China's central Henan province have demolished a church under construction and detained around 40 Christians after the Communist Party declared that the structure being built was illegal.

On May 5, around 300 police officers and city inspectors stormed the under-construction Shuangmiao Christian Church in Henan and destroyed the unfinished building. They also detained about 40 Christian congregants. A number of church members were beaten and shoved to the ground, China Aid recently learned.

Part of a propaganda banner which reads, "Prevent and reject
the Church of Almighty God's cult invasions", is seen at an
outdoor exercising court, in Puyang, Henan province, China, in
this file picture taken January 12, 2012.
(Reuters / Stringer / Files)
According to one member of the Shuangmiao Christian Church, the scene was comparable to the Japanese invasion during the World War II where the church building ended up completely destroyed.

The demolition came after the Communist Party declared that the church was an "illegal structure." Its personnel were also instructed to go through the belongings of the worshippers and of the construction workers as well. The officials were able to confiscate phones, laptops, money, and jewelry, and even destroyed offering baskets in the place.

Aside from that, the demolition was reportedly a form of punishment for the church's refusal to pay 4,000 yuan (US$588) to villagers as an arbitrary road usage fee. The church tried to fix the problem, but their pastor Zhang Di ended up being falsely charged with attacking the police station as well as a village personnel. He was also charged with limiting the freedom of other people.

Most of the Christians who were detained have already been freed, but eight are still under police custody. Authorities also transferred the case to the procuratorate, which will decide if Pastor Zhang and vice director Lu Yuexia will be formally arrested.

Shuangmiao Christian Church is now asking for the immediate release of the eight Christians still detained by police. They also want punishment for the authorities who violently attacked the congregants.

The situation of Shangmiao is not unique in Henan. In October 2016, China Aid ran a story about more than 20 local Christian who were beaten by Nanle County Public Security Bureau officials and detained by police in September because of their faith.

Chinese House Church Alliance pastor Zhang Mingxuan said the beating of house church members is a violation of China's Constitution. He also asked the international community to pray for the persecuted Christians in Henan because they are being controlled and attacked by the public security bureau.

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