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Yang Hua
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(Guiyang, Guizhou—March 28, 2017) A church pastor incarcerated in China’s southern Guizhou province was admitted to the hospital in serious condition Friday.

Wang Hongwu unexpectedly witnessed three detainees carrying her husband, imprisoned house church pastor Yang Hua, out of a vehicle on March 20, when she was accompanying his lawyer to meet with him. He had just returned from the hospital, and she said that he was doubled over and shrieking in pain. His lawyer later reported he appeared nearly paralyzed.

Three days before the meeting, inflamed ulcers appeared on Yang’s legs and spread rapidly, robbing him of the ability to sleep. The doctors at the detention center initially told him that they were pus sores and only gave him painkillers, the lack of treatment allowing the disease to spread.

On the afternoon of March 23, a prosecutor from the Nanming District Court informed Yang’s lawyers of his condition and advised them to apply for measures that would allow Yang to receive treatment at another hospital to avoid further complications.

Yang was sent to the hospital on March 24, where he was diagnosed with anaphylactoid purpura, a condition that targets blood vessels in the kidneys, intestines, joints, and skin. The doctor Wang consulted also said she should be aware of the possibility of several side effects, including septicemia, digestive tract hemorrhaging, and kidney damage. She was informed that Yang is in grave condition, and she penned a letter calling out for urgent prayer on his behalf, which can be read below.

As result, his lawyers wrote to the local procuratorate, questioning whether it was necessary to keep Yang in detention and requesting that he be released on medical bail. According to an article written by China Change, the judge in charge of the case must be consulted for that decision.

Yang, also known under his legal name Li Guozhi, was initially incarcerated on Dec. 9, 2015, when police took him into custody after resisting officials’ attempts to destroy a church hard drive. He was initially charged with “the crime of obstructing justice” and “gathering a crowd to disturb public order” and handed two consecutive, five-day administrative detention sentences; however, when Wang came to collect him on Dec. 20, 2015, she saw him wearing a hood and being forced into an unlicensed vehicle. Upon inquiry, she learned that he was transferred to criminal detention on the charge of “illegally possessing state secrets.”

On Jan. 22, 2016, the procuratorate formalized Yang’s arrest, and his charge was changed to “divulging state secrets.”

For more than a year, authorities held Yang without trial, subjecting him to torture and threatening his family members, both of which were carried out by the prosecutors assigned to his case. His requests that the prosecutors be excluded from his trial were ignored. He was tried on Dec. 26, and, in an act described by China Aid president Bob Fu as “nothing but purely barbaric religious persecution,” sentenced to two years and six months in prison on Jan. 5.

China Aid reports abuses, such as those experienced by Yang Hua, in order to stand in solidarity with persecuted Christians and promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law.

Letter for Prayers of Intercession

Thanks to our gracious Lord, I could meet with Yang Hua on March 24. I was accompanying the lawyer who would soon visit him at the detention center, but I ran into him right in front of the gate of the institution. He had just returned from the provincial hospital. It was the first time we had met in the span of one year, three months, and 15 days. Yang Hua descended slowly from the patrol vehicle with the help of another prisoner. His already hunched back arched even more because of leg pain. We only had time to exchange a few words before he was brought back into the detention center. After conversing with Yang Hua (I had to wait outside during their meeting), the lawyer informed me that Yang Hua would be transferred to the Guiyang 368 Armed Police Hospital and receive treatment, and that I could go see him one more time. Running toward him, I heard the officer yelling “Who is Li Guozhi’s family member?” I answered him, got in the patrol vehicle, and arrived at the Guiyang 368 Armed Police Hospital.

The chief physician told me about Yang Hua’s condition, that the provincial hospital diagnosed him with anaphylactoid purpura. I noticed that Yang Hua’s lower limbs were covered with measles and necrotic dots. His shinbones were full of huge patches of necrosis and effusion, and his feet and ankles were swollen. The doctor also told me that Yang Hua would receive a large amount of hormonal therapy and anti-inflammatory treatments, because the disease was ferocious and deteriorated in only eight days. The hospital delivered a notice of critical condition and told me to be aware of a series of possible side effects: septicemia, alimentary tract hemorrhaging, and kidney damage.

My heart stirred after hearing all of these things. I developed more worries and concerns.

During our brief reunion, Yang Hua told me, “Don’t worry. God is pulling the strings. I am at peace. We haven’t seen each other in a year and three months, but you haven’t changed at all.”

I smiled and answered him, “You haven’t changed either, except that your back is more hunched.”

Thank the Lord for alleviating my sorrows and putting peace in my heart. Although I had not seen Yang Hua for more than a year (we were never parted for more than two months before he was arrested), it all felt like yesterday when he was standing in front of me. No tears. No hysteria. We looked deeply at each other in divine serenity. Although worried, I could still face Yang Hua with joy and tranquility with God’s support.

When we were about to separate, Yang Hua said, “Don’t forget to tell the brothers and sisters to pray for me.”

I answered, “Of course.”

He was again taken away before my eyes.

Lord, I will entrust him to you. From now on, you will be the only one accompanying him, I prayed in my heart.

God’s servant: Wang Hongwu
March 25

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The Washington Post
By Editorial Board March 25

■ Frustrated by China’s relentless crackdown on civil society and human rights, Western governments have lately adopted the tactic of drawing up joint communications to Beijing. Last year the United States joined in at least two such initiatives, a declaration at the United Nations Human Rights Council and a letter raising concerns about new Chinese laws on cybersecurity, counterterrorism and nongovernment organizations. The appeals haven’t stopped repression by the regime of Xi Jinpeng, but they have at least embarrassed it, and forced senior officials to respond.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and State of Secretary Rex
Tillerson meet in Beijing on March 19.
(Thomas Peter/Associated Press)
On Feb. 27, a new letter was dispatched to the Minister of Public Security, Guo Shengkun, on the vital subject of the torture and secret detention of a number of human rights lawyers. It was signed by 11 governments, including Britain, France, Germany, Canada, Australia and Japan. But from China’s point of view, the big news was the signature that was missing — that of the United States. Whether intentional or not, it was another signal that the Trump administration will play down human rights in its foreign policy, granting a free pass to regimes it regards as allies or with which it hopes to cut deals.

Such a policy can only mean more persecution of brave people like Xie Yang, one of the subjects of the new letter. Mr. Xie, who was arrested in 2015, provided his lawyers in January with a detailed account of the torture he has been subjected to, including repeated beatings and threats to his family. The letter called for an independent investigation into “credible claims of torture” against Mr. Xie and fellow lawyers Li Heping, Wang Quanzhang and Li Chunfu, according to the Toronto Globe and Mail, which first reported on the missive last week.

Beijing’s response to the letter exploited the Trump administration’s own rhetoric. As the Globe and Mail reported, in the days after it was sent state media published articles describing Mr. Xie’s allegations of torture as “fake news.” The state news agency Xinhua called them “cleverly orchestrated lies.”

In fact, the State Department itself documented cases of torture and illegal detention in its latest human rights report, saying China was guilty of “illegal detentions at unofficial holding facilities . . . torture and coerced confessions of prisoners and detention and harassment of journalists, lawyers, writers, bloggers, dissidents, petitioners and others.” But that report was drawn up by State’s professional staff, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson chose not to make a press appearancewhen it was released earlier this month.

In a visit to Beijing last weekend Mr. Tillerson said he had “made clear that the United States will continue to advocate for universal values such as human rights and religious freedom.” So why not support a concrete appeal drafted by America’s closest democratic allies? A State Department official told us that the inaction was mainly the result of timing; Mr. Tillerson had just taken office and quick action was difficult. But it’s doubtful that China’s leaders — or the courageous lawyers suffering torture — interpreted it that way.

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China Change
China Change, March 25, 2017

■ When one of the two defense lawyers for Pastor Yang Hua (仰华) of the Living Stone house church in Guiyang traveled to the Nanming District Detention Center (贵阳市南明区看守所) to meet their client on March 20, he was surprised to see Yang almost carried into the meeting room by three sturdy cellmates. Yang Hua’s face showed he was full of pain, seemingly on the verge of paralysis. The lawyer discovered that, three days previously, Yang’s legs suddenly became inflamed and ulcerated, and the festering was spreading fast, with the burning pain keeping him up at night. The physician on duty at the detention center treated it as nothing more than a superficial skin infection and administered painkillers. Yang’s condition has been rapidly deteriorating since.

On March 24, the lawyer again met with Yang Hua and found that earlier in the day he had been given a physical examination at the Guizhou Provincial People’s Hospital. Yang Hua also explained the following about his condition. In his words:

“On March 17, 2017, ulcers began to appear on my legs. I reported it to the detention center, but the staff said they had seen this many times before, and that it was nothing more than ‘impetigo’ [an infectious, superficial bacterial skin infection]. On March 18 the resident doctor gave me some medication. By March 19, after the festering had spread, I again requested that the detention center provide proper treatment, such as injections or an IV. On March 20 and 21, the physician on duty put me on an IV drip. The burning pain was so much at this point, however, that I couldn’t sleep for several nights. From around 3:30 to 4:00 a.m. on the 22nd, the agony was truly unbearable. I rang the alarm to report to the cadres on duty. Officer Luo, on watch that night, was furious at being disturbed and screamed some truly awful obscenities at me. No one else in the cell was able to sleep, so in the end the physician on duty gave me two painkillers. I haven’t been able to walk or go to the toilet by myself during this period.
“On the morning of March 22, the detention center brought me to the department of dermatology at the Guiyang Sixth Municipal Hospital for a physical inspection. The doctor diagnosed me with a form of allergic vasculitis [an inflammation of the blood vessels], and said that if no treatment could be found one outcome might be high-level amputation [i.e. above the knee]. He recommended high doses of penicillin for a fortnight. The detention center clinic, however, does not have penicillin.
“At 2:30 p.m. on March 22, the detention center gave me a blood test for HIV/AIDS. On March 23, I was again brought to a hospital designated by the authorities, this time the No. 368 People’s Armed Police Hospital, for a physical inspection. Five physicians were involved but couldn’t come to a final diagnosis. They did, however, recommend that I be taken to a regular hospital for treatment. They also indicated that the cost of treatment might be extremely high.
“That day I submitted a written request for hospital treatment, asking the detention center authorities to quickly arrange it. On the morning of March 24 I was brought to the Guizhou Provincial People’s Hospital to have a blood and urine test. Though they had the results that morning, the guards refused to inform me of them except to say that the HIV/AIDS test had come back negative.”

Yang Hua’s lawyers wrote to the Guiyang Procuratorate asking for a review of the continued necessity of detaining their client. Two prosecutors told one of the lawyers that Yang Hua’s case is highly “sensitive,” and they could only make a decision in consultation with the judge handling the case, as well as the Politico-legal Commission.

The lawyers believe that Yang Hua’s condition is urgent and serious and that he needs to be admitted to a hospital qualified to deliver appropriate treatment as soon as possible. Failing that, the relevant departments will have to assume responsibility for delaying treatment and thus exacerbating Yang Hua’s condition.

Pastor Yang Hua's family
On March 24, Yang Hua’s wife Wang Hongwu (王洪雾) accompanied a lawyer for a visit, and happened to arrive just as Yang Hua was coming back from a test at the provincial hospital. It was the first time that husband and wife had seen each other one year and three months, after Yang Hua was detained in December, 2015. They were only able to exchange a few words before the police officers intervened. After Yang Hua and his lawyer met, the police asked the Pastor’s wife to accompany them to the No. 368 People’s Armed Police Hospital.

Yang Hua’s wife, in a letter to fellow parishioners calling for prayers on Yang Hua’s behalf, summarized what the chief physician told her: “The provincial hospital diagnosed it as ‘anaphylactoid purpura’ [a kind of blood vessel inflammation]. I saw that both of Yang Hua’s legs were covered in rashes and spots of necrosis. Around the shins on both legs, in particular, there’s a large area of necrosis and seeping wounds. The feet are swollen up to the ankles. The doctor said they’d use large doses of hormones and anti-inflammatory drugs to treat it. Because the illness came on so ferociously and rapidly — around a week — the hospital gave me a notice of severe illness and told me that Yang Hua might develop a range of other symptoms, including septicemia, hemorrhaging of the digestive tract, kidney damage, and more.”

Pastor Yang Hua (birth name Li Guozhi 李国志), who just turned 41 years old, was arrested on December 9, 2015, and was tried on December 26, 2016 on charges of “deliberately divulging state secrets” (故意泄露国家机密罪). The so-called “state secrets” in question referred to a circular about the establishment of the “Municipal Command Center for Dealing With the Living Stone Church According to the Law” (贵阳市依法处置贵阳活石教会指挥部). The notice said: “Dealing with the Living Stone church according to the law is a high-priority political task. Work unit leaders must personally grasp the issue, join the city’s overall deployments, and earnestly mobilize to carry the work out to completion.” Yang Hua was sentenced to 2.5 years imprisonment in January this year.

The Living Stone church of Guiyang is an emerging urban house church that grew rapidly beginning in 2008. It has been subject to constant suppression and surveillance by the authorities. Zhang Xiuhong (张秀红), the chairman of the Board of Deacons and church accountant, was arrested in July 2015 and, after being detained for an extended period without trial, was sentenced to five years imprisonment in February 2017. The charges against her, of supposedly “illegal business operations,” were completely absent any criminal conduct.

At the same time Yang Hua was arrested, the authorities announced that the Living Stone church was banned. The 600 square meter office space, on the 24th floor of a new office building in downtown Guiyang, that it used as its place of congregation was sealed and guarded by security personnel hired by the local authorities.

The authorities persist in their claim that the suppression of the church is nothing more than a criminal matter and is thus not a case of religious persecution. But as the Procuratorate revealed to the lawyers, the Living Stone case is “sensitive,” and they would need to consult the Communist Party’s Politico-legal Commission about how they handled it.

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Gao Zhisheng
(Photo: China Aid)

(Midland, Texas—March 23, 2017) A Christian human rights defender began a three-part series of blog posts regarding the memoir of a tortured human rights lawyer yesterday. 

Jinghong Cai, a Chinese Christian, dedicates her posts, which can be found on, to exposing religious freedom and human rights violations in her homeland. Recently, she read the memoir of Gao Zhisheng, a Christian human rights defense attorney whose efforts to defend groups unfairly targeted by the government prompted officials to repeatedly imprison and torture him.

The first installment of Cai's three-part review, which was published on March 22, has been reproduced below with her permission.

Additionally, First Things published an essay adapted from portions of Gao's book.

China Aid encourages the efforts of individuals such as Jinghong Cai to expose China's abuses in order that more people may stand in solidarity with persecuted Christians and promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law.

By Jinghong Cai

(I would like to express my special thanks to the American Bar Association and Carolina Academic Press for kindly providing me with a review copy of Mr. Gao’s memoir. This blog is the first part of my book review of “Unwavering Convictions: Gao Zhisheng’s Ten-Year Torture and Faith in China’s Future.” Due to space limitations, I will complete the book review in a three-part series of blogs.)

Mr. Gao Zhisheng, the “No. 1 Political Prisoner” in the Chinese Communist Regime, survived 10years (2004 - 2014) torture in prison and various inhumane treatments. According to his memoir, he could maintain his victorious, defiant spirit against the dark regime, only thanks to his Christian faith and God’s amazing grace. As a lawyer and human rights defender in China, Mr. Gao is seen as an icon who has been vehemently fighting for human rights, including freedom of religion, against the evil Communist Party; For years, he defended Falun Gong practitioners as well as house church Christians.

Mr. Gao has been barred from contacting anybody outside China. He wrote his memoir in secret when he was under house arrest in an isolated village in the Shannxi province in northwestern China. Since the Chinese government has been relentlessly suppressing any disclosure of evidence about their criminal acts of torturing and persecuting political dissidents, Mr. Gao’s Chinese manuscript had to be smuggled out of China and published in Taiwan in June 2016. Later, this smuggled memoir was translated into English and published by the American Bar Association and other organizations in the United States, at the end of January, 2017.

In the memoir, “Unwavering Convictions: Gao Zhisheng’s Ten-Year Torture and Faith in China’s Future,” Mr. Gao described his 10-year experiences of being abducted, abused, tortured, and imprisoned by the Chinese Communist Party. One monumental contribution of Mr. Gao’s to the cause of human rights is that he investigated the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in 2005, and in 2006 he gave the evidence to the UN’s torture rapporteur, Dr. Manfred Nowak. Based on Mr. Gao’s evidence and other sources, Dr. Nowak estimated that about two-thirds of the seven to eight million prisoners in re-education and labor camps were practitioners of Falun Gong. In 1999, this religious group reached its peak and had some 70 to 100 million practitioners. Later, the world learned that thousands of them were brutally murdered as part of a lucrative organ transplant trade.

Mr. Gao’s memoir is about 170 pages long and consists of two sections. In the first section, Mr. Gao chronologically recorded each time how he was abducted, detained and tortured, while in the second section, he disclosed his dreadful experiences in prison. Reading the whole book is like walking through the “valley of the shadow of death,” filled with evil – the damp dark cells, the hideous tools used for torturing prisoners, and the wicked mockery of the secret police. Yet, in the midst of that darkness, Mr. Gao feared no evil, and there was always a blinking but unwavering candlelight.

When I read the memoir, three major points caught my eye. First and foremost, we, Chinese, like any other people in the world, love peace, life, freedom and justice. We believe in these unalienable rights just as the American people do; we believe no government, particularly the Chinese Communist Party, should brutally deprive citizens of life and liberty. As a pioneer of the Chinese human rights movement, Mr. Gao writes in his book, “My experience is just one part of the boundless suffering of the Chinese race under one of the cruelest regimes in human history” (p. 1).

The second impressive point is his testimony of God’s amazing grace. In today’s China, at least over 70 million people have reportedly accepted Jesus and become Christians. At the beginning of his memoir, Mr. Gao thanks those people, both inside and outside China, for following his situation and expressing concerns constantly. He believes that God not only has protected him through the concerns of these kind people, but also has sustained him in his time of trouble, and nurtured his faith. Mr. Gao also emphasizes that access to the Bible was not what convinced him to convert to Christianity; He accepted salvation, the gift of God, only after he was surrounded by other Christians. After becoming a Christian, Mr. Gao began having visions from God. His first God-given vision came after he was arrested in August 2006, and he saw God’s reassurance that his detention would not be prolonged.

Lastly, I was moved and inspired by the power of international support, which Mr. Gao referred to as “the unwavering attention of the foreign media.” In his book, Mr. Gao states that he was tortured again and again, but but his life was spared thanks to the international human rights watchdogs. In 2007, prior to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, Mr. Gao published his “Open Letter to the US Congress” in the Western countries. He openly asked the international community to help Chinese people to peacefully abandon the tyranny and to establish a free, democratic and civilized new China. Mr. Gao’s petition won him respect from the United States and other Western countries, but at the meantime, he was resented more by the Chinese Communist Party. Because of his fame outside China, the Communist government secretly arrested him and tortured him, trying to break him into giving in and giving up.

Mr. Gao described how he was abducted on April 8, 2010 and experienced torture and imprisonment after he refused to stop contact with the world outside of China. Shortly after he met friends from America, Britain, Germany and Canada, the secret police told him, “If you insist on maintaining contact with the outside world, you will be arrested again in less than three days.” The secret police also ordered Mr. Gao, “If someone knocks on your door, don’t open it.” After Mr. Gao refused to follow the orders of the secret police, he was abducted again within forty-eight hours. (p. 60)

I read Mr. Gao’s memoir with a heavy heart. As a Chinese who grew up during the Cultural Revolution, I know the darkness of the regime is true. Martin Luther King Jr. once said that darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can. Dismay is not a solution; only taking action, like Mr. Gao did is a solution. I encourage you, my fellow Chinese and my American friends, to join me in speaking out and defending those who are suffering under the totalitarian government in China.

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The first page of Ren's proposal.
(Photo: China Aid)

(Xiangyang, Hunan—March 16, 2017) A procuratorate in China’s southern Hunan province returned an imprisoned Christian’s case files to the public security bureau for further investigation, a lawyer told ChinaAid on Friday.

The procuratorate in Dali, Hunan transferred the case of Tu Yan, who was taken into police custody on Oct. 22 on a falsified charge of “using cult activities to undermine law enforcement,” back to the public security bureau with orders to investigate the case further.

After perusing the procuratorate’s 12 files on Tu, which consist of 2,400 pages accusing her of participating in the “Three Classes of Servants” cult, her lawyer, Ren Quanniu, penned a proposal to the public prosecutor’s office, asking that she not be prosecuted. He claimed that China’s criminal law did not identify the cult Tu was accused of participating in as illegal. As a result, he argued that they were trying to frame Tu and had no reason to imprison her.

Additionally, Tu said she is a Christian and has never participated in the cult.

Tu was seized along with four other Christians. Authorities have released three of these, but the last, Su Min, is still detained.

ChinaAid reports abuses such as those experienced by Tu in order to walk in solidarity with persecuted Christians and promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law.

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Human Rights Watch
Sophie Richardson China Director
March 13, 2017 8:00pm EDT

■ After Cao Shunli Died, Beijing’s Crackdown Intensified

Cao Shunli died three years ago today in a Beijing hospital. The veteran human rights activist, best known for pressing the Chinese government to include input from independent civil society into China’s report for its human rights review at the United Nations, died after being held in a detention facility for several months without needed medical treatment.

To this day, little explanation has been given for her detention and death, no one has been held accountable, and there is no sign of an investigation.

Cao Shunli
Courtesy of openDemocracy
Instead, in the three years since Cao’s death at age 53, authorities have only intensified their crackdown on human rights defenders. In many reported cases of detention in recent months, there has been a steady stream of torture allegations.

In January 2017, Li Chunfu, one of more than 300 lawyers and advocates rounded up amid a national crackdown on human rights lawyers in July 2015, showed signs of severe mental trauma upon his release. Detained lawyer Xie Yang, in interviews transcribed by his lawyers in January 2017, gave detailed accounts of the torture he endured: interrogated day and night by security agents who punched and kicked him, blew smoke in his face, and forced him to sit in a fixed position for more than 20 hours. In March, lawyer Jiang Tianyong, who has been in custody since November 2016, appeared on Chinese TV “admitting” that he fabricated the account of Xie’s torture.

Before being detained, Jiang, who himself had previously been tortured, said, “If I say things I don’t mean to when I am in jail, please must forgive me…[being tortured] was so painful.”

But Chinese authorities apparently aren’t at all bothered by the torment the criminal justice system inflicts on the activists caught in its grip. In fact, in the annual work reports released by China’s supreme court and the top prosecutor’s office on March 12, 2017, the prosecutions of human rights lawyer Zhou Shifeng and others are extolled as examples of their success in “safeguarding national security.”

If the Chinese government wishes to “comprehensively govern the country according to the law,” as it claims in its new work report, it should start it by opening an investigation into Cao’s death and the alleged torture of the many other human rights defenders by the police since then.

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■ Detained activist Su Changlan, who has been in pre-trial detention for more than two years, on Tuesday received a prestigious human rights award from a coalition of Chinese human rights groups.

Su, 45, is the third recipient of the Cao Shunli Memorial Award for Human Rights Defenders, in honor of her work "promoting human rights at the grassroots level in China," the Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) network said on its website.

There are growing concerns for her health after a prolonged period in police detention with no medical treatment, the group said.

Guangdong rights activist Shu Changlan in an undated file
photo. Photo courtesy of
"Su Changlan’s health has worsened in detention due to a lack of medical treatment, a form of torture commonly used against incarcerated human rights defenders in China," CHRD said.

It said Su is suffering from heart arrhythmia and tremors in her hands and feet because of denied and inadequate care for hyperthyroidism, which can be fatal if not properly treated.

However, she has been hospitalized at least a half dozen times due to eczema caused by poor conditions in detention, most recently in August 2016, CHRD reported.

The authorities have refused multiple requests for Su's release on medical parole.

Born in the southwestern province of Guangxi, Su was an elementary school teacher for more than a decade before being fired in retaliation for her rights activism in the early 2000s, CHRD said.

A self-taught legal advocate, she helped rural women in neighboring Guangdong province to file lawsuits, appeals and official complaints, some of which led to compensation for the loss of their land rights and inheritance after marriage.

No change likely

Her husband Chen Dequan told RFA he didn't believe the award would change the authorities' treatment of his wife.

"I don't think that they'll pay any attention to it," Chen said. "Lots of people around the world have expressed concern about her case, but they still keep dragging their feet. We still don't even have a verdict."

Before her incarceration, Su had become a "highly influential" activist for women's rights in Guangdong, working to expose the trafficking of underage girls as child brides and official corruption around rural elections.

The trigger for her detention on Oct. 27, 2014 appeared to be her publicly expressed support for the pro democracy Occupy Central movement in Hong Kong, however.

Since then, Su has repeatedly been deprived of her legal and due process rights, including secret detention, denied legal counsel, prolonged pre-trial detention, and delayed announcement of a trial verdict, CHRD said.

Su eventually stood trial on April 21 last year at the Foshan Intermediate People's Court in Guangdong on charges of "incitement to subvert state power."

The authorities have yet to issue a verdict or sentence in the case, and Su has been denied visits from her husband and brother, who have themselves been detained for protesting about the situation.

'Arbitrary detention'

Su's detention has been judged as "arbitrary" by the United Nations, which has called on the ruling Chinese Communist Party to release and compensate her. She is still being held in the Nanhai Detention Center in Foshan.

"She has a clear conscience about everything she did," Chen told RFA. "She would have done all that she did with or without such a prize. The most important thing is that she never did any harm to anyone."

"She chose to do this work, and I never stood in her way," he said. "She wrote thousands of articles, which the authorities then used against her in court."

"But freedom of speech is a right that is enshrined in the constitution of the People's Republic of China, so they have now deprived her of her constitutional rights," Chen said.

Su's lawyer Liu Xiaoyuan said he isn't optimistic about his client's fate.

"I don't think there is cause for optimism, because she has been locked up for such a long time, so somebody somewhere is blocking the progress of her case," Liu said. "This is probably somebody in a specific government department, and it's ... definitely someone very powerful."

"The reason that there is no verdict is that the evidence, in my view, simply doesn't stack up," he said.

Su's award is named for late human rights activist Cao Shunli, who died in police detention on March 14, 2014 after being denied adequate medical care.

It was awarded by three Chinese rights groups: Civil Rights & Livelihood Watch, Human Rights Campaign in China and Weiquanwang.

Cao was detained on Sept. 14, 2013, as she was boarding a flight to Geneva, where she was to attend a session of the U.N. Human Rights Council, where she hoped to participate in drafting China’s human rights action plans and reports for its U.N. human rights reviews.

Rights groups say her detention was a form of official retaliation for those efforts.

Reported by Wong Lok-to for RFA's Cantonese Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.

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The Christian Post
By Stoyan Zaimov
Mar 8, 2017 | 10:48 am

■ Reports of warming relations between China's atheistic Communist Party and the Vatican have beet met with high caution by some watchdog groups, which are warning that the persecution of Christians could get worse.

"A partnership between the Vatican and the Chinese government would worsen the lives of house church Christians. The Communist Party already targets clergy who are not ordained by the state as illegitimate, which leads to persecution, and having the Vatican's backing gives them a further excuse to do so," ChinaAid President Bob Fu told The Christian Post in an interview earlier this week.

"They may also feel emboldened in their persecution of Christians who practice their faith outside of government churches, since such a union would be the Vatican's stamp of approval on the Party's approach to Christianity."

An article in CNN last week highlighted that the Vatican and Communist Party could be nearing a "potentially historic deal" on ordaining Chinese bishops, which would push toward "ending decades of frosty ties."
A villager walks through a Catholic church's building to pray
on the top of a hill, near a Catholic church on the outskirts of
Taiyuan, North China's Shanxi province, December 24, 2016.
(Photo: Reuters/Jason Lee)

For decades, the Communist Party has refused the authority of the pope, with local Chinese Catholic bodies appointing their own bishops — a move that the Vatican opposes.

Additionally, the Chinese government has introduced restrictive pieces of legislation, such as the Revised Regulations on Religious Affairs, which looks to coerce house churches to join the state-run Three-Self Patriotic Movement. Churches that refuse to register are banned.

Underground church leaders who for years have faced a crackdown on their faith do not believe the new partnership will diminish religious persecution in China at all.

"Jesus said one person cannot serve two gods, now the Vatican is willing to serve God and the Communist Party," underground church pastor Paul Dong said, according to CNN.

Pope Francis has apparently expressed an interest in visiting China. The Vatican, meanwhile, said that the deal between the Catholic Church and the Chinese government regarding the ordination of bishops is a "work in progress."

Fu told CP that the pontiff would be making a mistake, as China is simply seeking to bolster its public image.

"China might be seeking to make a united front with the pope and the Vatican in order to appear as if it is respecting Christianity to the international society, when, in reality, the religion is still oppressed," he argued.

"Therefore, one of the benefits China could glean from pursuing a relationship with the Vatican is that of an improved — and false — public image, both domestically and internationally."

Fu noted that "currently, only a few bishops practicing in China have been approved by both the Vatican and CCP, as vast majority of clergymen do not see the Party's ordination criteria as being in line with the church's own due to the government's policing."

Retired Cardinal Joseph Zen, former Bishop of Hong Kong, agreed and told CNN that the Vatican risks "selling out" underground Catholics if it strikes a deal.

"We are afraid it's going to be a bad deal," Zen said. "There's no reason to hope the Communists will change. They already have very tight control of the above ground church, their hope is to have the underground church under their control as well."

Some ordained Chinese priests, such as Father Simon Zhu, told CNN that they are praying for "normalization" between China and the Vatican.

Fu insisted, however, that Pope Francis should not be reaching out to China while it continues refusing to improve the lives of persecuted Christians.

"They (the Vatican) should also realize that the Chinese government is not a friend of independent faith and religion, no matter how much officials pretend otherwise. Even those who worship in state-run churches are constantly monitored, and last year's most prominent persecution case was of a high-ranking official pastor who also served in the government's China Christian Council," Fu said.

Gu Yuese, former pastor of Chongyi Church, one of the largest officially sanctioned churches in the country, was arrested last year not long after speaking out against the government's forced destruction of church rooftop crosses, though officials charged him with embezzling funds.

"If the Vatican and the pope agree to a partnership without first forcing the Party to address its own abuses, it will be as if they condone this treatment of Christians," Fu warned.

He urged Pope Francis instead to "listen to the cries of persecuted Christians and urge the Chinese government to put an end to its abusiveness."

"Pope Francis has carefully modeled his care for the marginalized in order to encourage his followers to do the same. In China, Christians are the marginalized, and a relationship with that country without significant changes would only undermine his example."

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Shi Xinhong
(Photo: China Aid)

(Beijing—March 13, 2017) As China commenced a meeting of the National People’s Congress (NPC) the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) on March 5, Beijing police detained two Christians who had travelled to pray for the proceedings.

Officers patrolling the Great Hall of the People in Beijing detained Zhou Jinxia from Dalian, Liaoning, and Shi Xinhong from Bengbu, Anhui, after they attempted to enter the Hall with evangelism pamphlets. Shortly after 10 a.m. on March 5, an hour after the conference began, Zhou and Shi arrived to pray for the event.

Zhou spoke with the reporter later and explained the situation: “Today is the opening of a conference between the NPC and the CPPCC, and we wished to pray for our compatriots, the attendees of the conference, and the country itself with the hope that our nation will be blessed with peace and freedom. Sister Shi Xinhong was stopped on the way to the Great Hall. I left her and continued on. I called her later in the day and realized that she had been seized by the police, who questioned Sister Shi about my whereabouts from the other side of the phone. With Sister Shi in their hands, [the police] searched for half an hour and failed to locate me. I proceeded, but the Hall was heavily guarded and there was no way for me to get in. I abandoned the prayer I prepared earlier on the street.”

Shi said police cornered her in an alley, demanded to see her ID, and took her to the police station.

Likewise, police seized Zhou as she prayed facing the Great Hall of the People and demanded to see her ID. The women reunited at the police station and officers transferred them to a department that handles petitions. The two were deported home.

ChinaAid reports abuses, such as those experienced by Shi Xinhong and Zhou Jinxia, to stand in solidarity with persecuted Christians and promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law.

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(Korla, Xinjiang—March 13, 2017) Authorities in China’s northwestern Xinjiang recently deferred the housing registration application of two Christians, one of whom was recently detained for attending a house church.

Si Guangxiu and her son, Cai Chuangye, recently moved from Henan province to Xinjiang. According to Chinese law, all residents must register with the police when they relocate to a new city. As such, Cai filed a registration application, but it was repeatedly deferred. He said, “[The authorities] took away all of my legal materials and told me to wait.” A few days ago, officials agreed to process the application and asked Cai to take pictures of their new residence.

A person in their neighborhood told Si the reason for the delay was that she was a Christian.

On March 4, officials arrested her for attending a house church.

These actions come amid escalating religious tension in Xinjiang. Recently, Xinjiang’s ethnic and religious affairs bureau released the “26 Clauses,” to limit unofficial religious activities using methods to eliminate Christians’ retirement pensions, basic insurance, and ability to take out loans. In some areas, Christians were forced to sign guarantees that they would not attend house churches, and, after encountering some women who were illiterate and could not sign, government personnel threatened to cut off their power and water supply.

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

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Christian Today
Hazel Torres 
09 March 2017

■ Authorities in China marked the Lunar New Year holiday on Jan. 28 by intensifying their persecution of Christians.

Among those hit hard by the new wave of persecution were Christians living in the autonomous Chinese region of Xinjiang where more than 80 believers were arrested and detained leading up and after the holiday, according to persecution watchdog China Aid.

Chinese government agents take pictures during a raid on
Huoshi Church, also known as Livingstone Church, in
Guizhou province, China. China Aid
They were arrested during raids conducted by government security agents on various house churches affiliated with the Protestant house church network, Fangcheng Fellowship, which has an estimated 10 million members.

The raids were conducted in the cities of Urumqi, Kuytun and in Shawan counties, the belated report said. Those arrested were charged with crimes such as "engaging in religious activities at non-religious sites," said China Aid.

Chinese authorities only allow the operation of the state-run church called the Three-Self Patriotic Movement.

Among those arrested were six women who were imprisoned for 15 days and fined the equivalent of $145 on the charge of "gathering and praying under the name of Christianity."

The detainees were officially released on Feb. 9 on the condition that they would join the state-run church, according to China Aid.

"We believe in Jesus wholeheartedly. What just happened was not fair. We did not cause trouble. We did not bother the neighbours. All we did was study the Bible," Chen Xiangyan, one of the women who were detained, was quoted as saying.

Aside from conducting church raids, Chinese authorities are also busy cracking down on foreign Christian missionaries, deporting at least 32 South Korean missionaries in February as part of the government's crackdown on evangelism.

Last week, five Christians, including a pastor, were sentenced to three to seven years in prison on charges that they bought and sold what the Chinese government considers to be "forbidden Christian devotional books."

In its 2016 Annual Persecution Report, China Aid noted that there has been a "seismic shift" in China's approach to religion, which has led to a massive rise in persecution of Christians and other faiths.

Christians are being persecuted "at a frequency unseen since the Cultural Revolution," the human rights charity says.

It says persecution cases went up by more than 20 percent last year compared to 2015, with the number of people detained increasing by nearly 150 percent.

Open Doors USA ranks China as the 39th worst country in the world when it comes to the persecution of Christians, according to its 2017 World Watch List.

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From left: Xie Yang's two lawyers,
Chen Jiangang and Liu Zhengqing,
and his wife, Chen Guiqui.
China Aid

(Changsha, Hunan—March 7, 2017) An incarcerated human rights lawyer from China’s central Hunan province declared his innocence and revealed that he is being subjected to severe torture in a letter on Jan. 13, China Aid learned today.

Imprisoned since July 11, 2015, for his defense of human rights, lawyer Xie Yang wrote that officials have been subjecting him to “severe abuse and torture” in order to coerce him to confess. However, because he is not guilty of any crime, he writes that he is refusing and will only comply if the torture becomes too much for him to bear or authorities bait him with bail and a reunion with his loved ones. As such, he says, “If someday I admit any guilt, whether in written form or voice recording, it would definitely not be out of my own will.”

Xie’s lawyer, Chen Jiangang published the “Transcript of Interviews with Lawyer Xie Yang,” revealing that his client was repeatedly dragged away from cameras and beaten, forced to sit on stacked chairs until his legs swelled and it became impossible to walk, denied water, made to inhale cigarette smoke until he choked and suffocated, and subjected to other acts of torment. Additionally, according to an excerpt of the transcript posted by China Change, officials threatened to place him in an oven and told him, “Xie Yang, if we want to kill you, it would be very simple. Killing you is the same as killing an ant!”

Due to the startling nature of the transcript’s content, many international media sources published articles denouncing China’s treatment of Xie. In response, China launched a propaganda campaign claiming that these reports were “fabricated,” denying Xie’s torture.

A full translation of Xie’s declaration follows.

China Aid reports abuses, such as those suffered by Xie Yang, in order to stand in solidarity with the persecuted and promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law.

Xie Yang’s declaration on Jan. 13, 2017

I’m Xie Yang, and I hereby declare:

Today I met with my attorney, Chen Jiangang, again. All my statements here are completely true and out of a free heart. I want to declare that I am completely innocent.

I have been suffering from all kinds of severe abuse and torture since I was arrested on July 11, 2015. Nevertheless, I have never pled guilty, because I am not guilty.

If someday I admit any guilt, whether in written form or voice recording, it would definitely not be out of my own will. It would be either caused by continued torture or to get a chance to be bailed out and reunited with my family. Both my family and I are under immense pressure now as the officials ask me to confess and stop talking about my torture.

Once again, I am innocent.

Xie Yang
Jan. 13, 2017

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By Aaron James
Sat 04 Mar 2017

■ A report by a Christian charity's found believers in China are being persecuted "at a frequency unseen since the Cultural Revolution".

China Aid's Annual Persecution Report for 2016 was referring to the time of political change when Mao Zedong attempted to eliminate Christian, traditional and capitalist elements of Chinese society between 1966-1976, resulting in the deaths of approximately 30 million people.

It's report found incidents of Christian persecution in China rose 20 per cent from 2015 to 2016, while the number of believers imprisoned went up by almost 150 per cent.

In addition, Christians being sentenced for crimes went up by a third and the number abused by authorities or citizens went up almost 70 per cent.

Persecution includes the forced demolition of churches and removal of church crosses, the execution, forced organ harvesting or imprisonment of Christians and lawyers supporting them, and only allowing Christianity within state-monitored churches - a policy forcing millions of believers to worship in houses or underground. Believers have also been fined and had their bibles confiscated.

China is currently ranked 39 in the 50 worst countries in the world for Christian persecution.

Bob Fu, President of China Aid, said: 'The key findings of what happened last year and the reports from these first two months of 2017 have shown the situation of religious freedom is rapidly deteriorating.

"We call upon both the persecuted faithful in China and the international community to be increasingly vigilant and persevere in facing this harsher year.

"China Aid will continue to walk closer with the persecuted and oppressed faithful in China by exposing the abuses, encouraging the abused, and equipping the leaders."

About the Author

Aaron James
Aaron works as a multimedia journalist at Premier.

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Christians gather for worship at a
house church. Christians such as these
are often targeted for their faith.
(Photo: China Aid)
China Aid

(Liaoyang, Liaoning—March 7, 2017) Further details have been released regarding the sentencing of five Christians leaders for the purchase and sale of Christian books in China’s northeastern Liaoning province.

On Feb. 22, the defendants, four women and one man, all members of Chaoguang Church, were sentenced for allegedly buying and selling “officially forbidden Christian devotional books.”

Of them, pastor Li Dongzhe, and his wife, Piao Shunnan, received seven years with a fine of 100,000 Yuan ($14,500 USD). The church's accountant, Zhao Chunxia, and a secretary, Li Yuan, were given five years and fined 70,000 Yuan ($10,200 USD). Another member, Shi Jinyan, was sentenced to three years with a fine of 50,000 Yuan ($7,300 USD). Chaoguang Church itself received a fine of 200,000 Yuan ($29,000 USD).

Chaoguang Church, also known as Chaoguang Village Christian Gathering Place, is an officially registered church within China’s government-run Protestant church system, the Three-Self Patriotic Movement. Despite the church’s registered status, the courts declared that the Christians illegally conducted business because they intended to make a profit while selling Christian literature.

Following the conviction, Chaoguang Church has closed down.

The convictions of registered church members is a change from the norm in such cases, as charges like “illegal business operations” are normally levied against attendees of unregistered house churches in an attempt to limit their freedom

“Christian convicts of crimes like ‘illegal business operations’ and ‘participating in cults’ are [usually] brought against house church members,” Ren Quanniu, a lawyer who often works on such cases, said. “[The government] simply comes up with random legal excuses to detain them. I’ve heard of a similar case, in which the believers were arrested because of illegally publishing religious materials.”

China Aid exposes such abuses in order to stand in solidarity with persecuted Christians and promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law.

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Ruth Gledhill
04 March 2017

■ A 'seismic shift' in China's approach to religion has led to a massive rise in persecution of Christians and other faiths, according to one of the main human rights charities.

China Aid, in its 2016 Annual Persecution Report, describes a 'deviation' in the Chinese government's ideological approach to religion.

Christians are being persecuted 'at a frequency unseen since the Cultural Revolution', says China Aid.
Pastor Duan Huilai blesses congregants at his church in
Fujian, China. (Screenshot/CBN News video)

Persecution cases went up by more than 20 per cent last year compared to 2015, number of people detained increased by nearly 150 per cent, arrests went up 11 per cent, those sentenced increased by a third, abuse cases went up more than 40 per cent and the actual number of people abused increased by nearly 70 per cent.

The persecution of Christians were stepped up at China's national conference of religious work in April last year.

Chinese President Xi Jinping stated then that Christianity and other religions must 'persistently following the path of Sinicization'.

As a result of this, many departments in central and provincial governments have already begun increased attempts to prevent independent religious thought - such as banning reincarnation for Tibetan Buddhists.

Even before this, however, dozens of churches had crosses forcibly removed or were demolished.

In one horrific case, a Christian woman died after she and her husband were buried alive by a bulldozer as they attempted to protest their church demolition in Henan. Many are being detained. Just one example is the two women still in detention simply for hanging a cross in their home.

According to China Aid, underlying the persecution is an assumption by China's government that 'other countries are using foreign-based religions to undermine their authority.'

'This forces religious practitioners, especially Christians, to choose between comprising their deeply-held beliefs and risking being treated as violators of the law,' says the charity.

Increasingly in recent months, house churches have been targeted in an attempt tp coerce them to join China's official church, the Three-Self Patriotic Movement, or face closure.

'This data illustrates China's alarming regression into a more Maoist regime, and conditions are expected to worsen this year as the revised regulations on religious affairs go into effect nationwide. These new regulations seek to further limit religious activity and indicate a catastrophic potential to place more Christians behind bars,' said the charity.

Bob Fu of China Aid said: 'The key findings of what happened last year and the reports from these first two months of 2017 have shown the situation of religious freedom is rapidly deteriorating. We call upon both the persecuted faithful in China and the international community to be increasingly vigilant and persevere in facing this harsher year. China Aid will continue to walk closer with the persecuted and oppressed faithful in China by exposing the abuses, encouraging the abused, and equipping the leaders.'

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Zhang Xiuhong (left) was sentenced
to five years in prison.
(Photo: China Aid)
China Aid

(Guiyang, Guizhou—March 6, 2017) An imprisoned Christian woman recently penned a poem recounting the year she spent in police custody in China’s southern Guizhou province, even as she faces five years’ incarceration

Zhang Xiuhong, the chairwoman of Huoshi Church’s Board of Deacons and the church accountant, wrote a piece that retells what she could not experience during the year of 2016 due to her imprisonment and expresses the hope and joy she experiences in the midst of her cruel experiences.

On July 28, 2015, she was seized by local authorities for “illegal business operations.” Her defense lawyers, Xiao Yunyang and Li Guisheng, were not allowed to plead guilty on her behalf and argued that the transaction was an invalid piece of evidence, since she did not benefit from it.

Her trial commenced on Jan. 23 at 9:00 a.m., and the Nanming District Court sentenced her to five years in prison on Feb. 10. She appealed her sentence on Feb. 17, arguing that she was deemed responsible for embezzling 5 million Yuan [$725,374.00 USD]. She was accused of collaborating on this crime with Pan Lina, another defendant in her case. Pan, however, received only three years with a four-year probation. Zhang concluded that authorities used her charge to target her on account of her religious beliefs.

Xiao told a China Aid reporter that his client’s sentencing was unfair, since authorities promised that Zhang would be sentenced for only two years. Additionally, the judge who tried Zhang’s case visited her twice beforehand and encouraged her to confess, saying that Wang Yao and Tu Yulei, two others involved with Huoshi Church, both confessed and were released on probation. He also demanded that she fire Li, but she refused.

Zhang’s poem can be read in full below.

China Aid reports abuses such as those suffered by Zhang Xiuhong in order to stand in solidarity with persecuted Christians and promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law.

Poem by Zhang Xiuhong

This year
I didn’t hear the sweet voice of my baby,
I didn’t embrace the wanderer come back from afar,
I didn’t see my loved one’s thin and weak figure,
I didn’t have heart-to-heart talks with my sister,
I didn’t taste the delicious food prepared by my mother-in-law,
I didn’t bask in the rays of the morning sunlight,
Or take a stroll as the sun sets.
Or ride on a high-speed train to go somewhere.

This year, the sound I often heard,
Was the slam of metal doors, sharp and piercing,
This year, the sight I often saw was hopeless eyes,
This year, the food I had every day was the unchanging “three dishes and a soup,”
This year, the farthest I went was less than 1,000 meters [approximately 3,281 feet] away,
This year, I received a staggering fine,
This year, I saw the judge of my case twice, not at the court, but where I’m being detained.

Was this a tough year for me? Painful? Lonely? Living each day like a year? Absolutely not!
This year, I was never in a dark place while waiting; the sun above the clouds shined upon me and nourished me;
This year, I was never homesick;
This year, I enjoyed the bounty of grace because my trust in the Lord who called me brought me unspeakable glory and joy;
This year, the world drifted farther away from me;
This year, my Lord drew ever closer to me;
This year, I received the fruits of the Lord’s Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control;
This year, I bathed in His love;
This year, my soul broke free from the metal bars of prison and soared in the Kingdom of God;
This year, I lived in hope and divine promises….

Your sister in Christ,

Zhang Xiuhong

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Authorities raid a Chinese house
church. (Photo: China Aid)
China Aid

(Korla, Xinjiang—March 6, 2017) Authorities in China’s northwestern Xinjiang are violating the country’s religious freedom laws by assigning officers to monitor groups of Christians who experienced persecution, China Aid learned recently

According to Kong Lingrong, a Christian woman who hosts a house church in her home, government agents are constantly stationed at her door and prevent other Christians from visiting. Additionally, a white vehicle has been stationed outside her apartment complex. Whenever she leaves, government personnel follow her.

As 21 Christians met in her home for a church service on Feb. 19, officials broke in and announced that all religious gatherings with more than three people were illegal. After Kong asked questions, they dragged her to the police station along with several others, and one officer asked for permission to beat the churchgoers.

Kong also reported that she was given a document detailing 26 commonalities of so-called “illegal gatherings,” which included, “Holding organized religious activities outside of designated religious buildings without government permission; clergy and believers worshipping, gathering, or giving sermons outside of designated religious buildings” and “Inviting clergy from other cities without government permission.” However, the document lacked a title and an official seal, leading her to speculate that the government contrived these regulations.

Just after Kong’s home was raided, officials arrived at the nearby apartment of another Christian, Mei Yunhua, who also uses her residence for church services. At the time, the place was empty. Officials cut off her electricity and water supply for five days, only restoring it after the case garnered international media attention.

In an interview, Mei said, “Everyday, they watch [the church members], surveilling our homes, including the homes of our [Christian] sisters. As soon as you leave your house, they follow you … They don’t obviously watch you, but rather observe you from a secret place. One of our [Christian] sisters went to a prayer meeting one night, and, when she came out of it, [an official] car suddenly started following her. She was tailed all the way home.”

Kong defended the legality of private Christian gatherings, saying that the law grants Chinese citizens freedom of religion. Her claim agrees with Article 36 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China, which states:

“Citizens of the People's Republic of China enjoy freedom of religious belief. No state organ, public organization or individual may compel citizens to believe in, or not to believe in, any religion; nor may they discriminate against citizens who believe in, or do not believe in, any religion.”

China Aid reports abuses such as those experienced by Kong and Mei’s churches in order to stand in solidarity with persecuted Christians and promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law.

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Officials often raid house churches,
such as this one in Guizhou province.
(Photo: China Aid)
China Aid

(Bayingolin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture, Xinjiang—March 6, 2017) Officials invaded churches and seven Christian homes and confiscated various materials in China’s northwestern Xinjiang on Feb. 24 and 26.

Without legal documents, officers searched churches and the homes of Christians Chen Daihu, Peng Zuorong, Liu Shouqun, Zhao Jinhong, Jia Qiuyue, Fu Qun, and Zhou Jianhua on Feb. 24, destroying religious materials. Fu, who runs a church in one of her two homes, said, “The police officers searched every corner of the church. They took away the offering box, the books, the crosses, basically anything. They removed the crosses and the posters on the walls of every household.”

On Feb. 26, authorities broke into the homes again without presenting warrants. One of the Christians, whose identity was unspecified, said, “There were more than 10 officers in both raids. They climbed the fence [to my house] during the second raid and told me that they wanted to ‘have a look’ in my house. The officers searched my house thoroughly and even confiscated my checkbook on the table. I demanded my books … back, but they refused. I complained to them that there were two raids in a matter of three days.“

The church member also said he was accused of cult activity, despite never being involved in a cult.

The local Christians said they did not know where they could go to file a complaint.

China Aid exposes abuses such as those experienced by church members in Xinjiang in order to stand in solidarity with persecuted Christians and promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law.

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China Change
Chen Jiangang, March 4, 2017

■ 1. I cherish life. I want to live to see the universal values of democracy, liberty, rule of law, and human rights realized in China. I want to see a constitutional system of government established in China. If these things don’t happen I’ll die without peace. I cherish my family. I want to see my children grow and live in freedom and health. For all these reasons, I will not kill myself. If something unexpected happens to me, please know that it will absolutely not be because I committed suicide.
Left to right: Chen Jiangang, Liu Zhengqing, and Chen
Guiqiu (Xie Yang's wife) outside Changsha 2nd Detention
Center in December, 2016

2. I have committed no crime. I will never, of my own volition, assent to any illegal interrogation, and nor will I level false charges against or attempt to frame anyone. Any written, oral, or video confession, self-degradation, or accusation against other people will only have been made under the circumstances that I have been deprived of liberty, am under duress, or am being tortured and threatened. Those are the only circumstances under which I could be forced to say such things, and none of them will be true.

3. I’m simply a man of flesh and blood. If I’m put to the agonies of torture, I cannot guarantee that I will not submit. Through my years of work as a defense lawyer, I have learned of many cases of torture in China and the unspeakable cruelty involved. If I am tortured and made to submit, everything I say will be made up. None of it can be taken as evidence toward the accusation, conviction, or defamation of any person.

4. If I lose my freedom and end up on television revealing the name of any of my friends, please forgive me. Those won’t be my own words or my will. By that stage I will have been turned into nothing but a prop. Please forgive me.

5. I take complete responsibility for every character in the two transcripts I made of the meetings with Xie Yang (谢阳), as well as for any other transcripts that have not yet been made public. As for the groundless lies made by the shameless state media that the transcripts describing torture were fabricated, I have already thoroughly rebutted them in my essay “How Xie Yang’s Transcripts of Torture Came to Light.”

6. My children, your father loves you.*

Chen Jiangang (陈建刚)


*Chen Jiangang has two children, six and two years old. – Translator’s note

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Signs posted on the wall of
a church in Wusu.
(Photo: China Aid)
China Aid

(Wusu, Xinjiang—March 3, 2017) Persecution broke out in China’s northwestern Xinjiang in the days surrounding the Lunar New Year as authorities arrested more than 80 Christians for attending house church meetings and detained six others, China Aid recently learned.

Public security bureaus invaded a network of house churches known as Fangcheng Fellowship in Urumqi, Shawan County, and Kuytun, accused at least 80 Christians of “engaging in religious activities at non-religious sites” in the days leading up to and after the Lunar New Year. They were arrested for refusing to join the state-run Three-Self Church.

Similarly, on Jan. 20, police officers in Wusu, Xinjiang, disturbed a group of Christians at prayer in their church, after they were previously urged to join the Three-Self Church. The officers labeled their gathering illegal and took 10 of them away. Of those imprisoned, the authorities released the elderly, the sick, and those who had previously been arrested. Six women, including Chen Xiangyan and Zhu Xiaohua, were detained for 15 days, beginning on Jan. 25, and fined 1,000 Yuan ($145 USD) for “gathering and praying under the name of Christianity.”

When recounting the event to a China Aid reporter, Chen said, “We believe in Jesus wholeheartedly. What just happened was not fair. We did not cause trouble. We did not bother the neighbors. All we did was study the Bible. [The police] said that we might be controlled by bad people, but I promised him that we knew what we were doing, because we believed in Jesus, not someone bad. They would not listen to me and directly transferred us to the detention center. They fined each of us 1,000 Yuan. We didn’t receive a receipt until now. ”

Additionally, Chen said she was charged with setting up private religious gatherings.

The detainees were released on Feb. 9.

According to Zhu, authorities previously persecuted the church’s members and urged them to join the Three-Self Church, insisting that they broke the law by meeting privately. Church members were seized and ordered to stop gathering.

China Aid reports abuses, such as those experienced by church members in Xinjiang, in order to stand in solidarity with persecuted Christians and promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law.

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