Breaking News:
Partner with ChinaAid to Free Yang Hua
Su Tianfu
(Photo: China Aid)
China Aid
Reported in Chinese by Qiao Nong. Translated by Carolyn Song.

(Guiyang, Guizhou—Oct. 25, 2016) A house church in China’s southern Guizhou which has struggled against authorities’ demands for more than a year, recently had its bank accounts frozen as authorities demanded three of the church’s pastors pay fines totaling approximately $32,500.

The executive board of Nanming District Court, Guiyang City notified three pastors from Guiyang Huoshi Church that they would have to pay a total of 220,000 Yuan (U.S. $32,500), as a 110,000 Yuan (U.S. $16,250) fine and a 110,000 Yuan penal sum.

According to the Notice of Execution issued by the Guiyang Municipal Law Enforcement Bureau, the three issued the notice, Su Tianfu, Liang Xuewu and Zhang Xiuhong would have to pay a fine for the administration of the Urban and Rural Construction Executive Punishment case against them.

The three pastors were required to pay all of the fine within three days of receiving the notice, even though Zhang is currently being held in detention.

On Sept. 19, Su went to the district court and discussed with the judge his inability to pay the fine. “The court asked me to pay more than 200,000 Yuan (U.S. $29,500) in three days,” Su told China Aid’s reporter on the evening of Sept. 20, “yet they are asking me why I am unable to pay for it. I told the judge that our 500,000-600,000 Yuan (U.S. $73,800-$88,600) deposit in the bank was frozen by the police last year. Not to mention that the court froze another 200,000 Yuan the second time. The court does not know how to deal with this either. The order of the court will come into effect only after the police station unfreezes the bank account.”

Authorities detained Zhang, the chairman of the Huoshi Church’s executive board, in late July 2015, and charged her with “illegal business operations.” Right after she was detained, the police froze the church’s bank account of 600,000 Yuan so the church could not repay its actual property loan to the bank on time.

Su said he is currently unable to pay even his own personal basic living expenses, and that it is impossible to find additional money to pay the fine.

“I do not have income at all after the government banned our church,” Su told the court. “Besides, I think that the fine is too steep. It is absolutely unprecedented in the country. We are the first and only church to be fined so heavily.”

At the time of her arrest, Zhang was accused of using the cash register of a beauty shop she owned to illegally withdraw cash. The Procuratorate officially arrested her on Sept. 1, 2015.

In March 2016, six months later, the court began to try the case, but never held an official hearing. According to inside reports, the court was meant to schedule a session for Zhang’s case sometime after Oct. 1, but there is no word on when her trail will actually occur.

China Aid reports on instances of persecution, such as the demands and fines faced by Huoshi Church and its pastoral staff, in order to expose religious freedom abuses and other human rights violations perpetuated by the Chinese government.

ChinaAid Media Team
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
For more information, click here
Officials attack a Christian woman.
(Photo: China Aid)
China Aid
Reported in Chinese by Qiao Nong. Translated by Carolyn Song.

(Puyang, Henan—Oct. 25, 2016) Public security bureau officials in China’s central Henan province beat a local Christian on Sept. 25.

A Christian witnessing the beating used the word “miserable” to describe the scene. According to believers, Nanle County Public Security Bureau also detained and beat more than 20 other Christians and arrested them all because of their religious beliefs.

Zhang Mingxuan, a pastor and president of the Chinese House Church Alliance, expressed his indignation at the beating by Nanle police. He said, “It is against the national constitution and laws for house church believers to be beaten by Nanle County Public Security Bureau. A lot of problems have been caused because they [the public security bureau personnel] control, attack and persecute Christianity in Henan. I hope the international community will pray for them.”

ChinaAid Media Team
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
For more information, click here
Chinese authorities have become
increasingly sensitive to the display of
crosses, such as this one, which was
removed from the top of the church.
(Photo: China Aid)
China Aid
Reported in Chinese by Qiao Nong. Translated by Carolyn Song.

(Hetian, Xinjiang—Oct. 25, 2016) Authorities recently imprisoned a Christian couple from a house church in China’s northwestern Xinjiang and another woman visiting them because they displayed a cross in their home.

Dai, a Christian who hosts a house church in his home, and his wife, Li, were taken away by the local police, along with a woman who was visiting them. Additionally, their home was raided, and religious items were confiscated. This is the second time this year that the church has been invaded

At the present time, Dai has been released, but Li and their guest are still detained.

China Aid exposes abuses, such as those experienced by Li, Dai and their visitor, in order to promote religious freedom in China.

ChinaAid Media Team
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
For more information, click here
The Washington Post
By Yang Jianli
October 24 at 2:21 pm

Yang Jianli is founder and president of Initiatives for China. A former Tiananmen Square activist, he was imprisoned in China from 2002 to 2007 for attempting to observe labor unrest.

On March 14, 2014, Cao Shunli, a Chinese human rights activist, died in a Chinese military hospital after five and a half months in detention, with her body showing clear signs of brutal physical mistreatment. She had been arrested in September 2013 at the airport while trying to leave China to head to Geneva for a training session. That June, she had organized a sit-in outside the Foreign Ministry in Beijing, demanding that citizens be allowed to participate in preparing China’s human rights report to the United Nations.

Today, I am writing in her spirit, as a citizen of China to voice the concerns of the Chinese people — concerns that should be heard by the international community, especially the U.N., because Chinese people are so misrepresented by their unelected government at the U.N. and other international forums.

Today, many of the world’s leading democracies are afraid of China’s economic power. So they make little or no effort to bilaterally press China on human rights issues. But the U.N. provides opportunities for them to come together to confront China on its human rights record collectively with a lawful international right and without being accused of unilaterally “interfering with another nation’s internal affairs.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping leaves at the end of the BRICS
summit in Goa, India, on Oct. 16.
(Manish Swarup/Associated Press)
Such an opportunity will come up on Oct. 28, when the U.N. General Assembly will vote to choose new members on its Human Rights Council.

Candidates for the U.N. Human Rights Council, according to General Assembly Resolution 60/251, are supposed to be countries that “uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights.” China’s track record at home, as well as its prior service on the council, has been abysmal and renders it indisputably unqualified for reelection to the council.

By any stretch of the imagination, no reasonable person could really believe that China’s inclusion in the Human Rights Council would cause it to “behave” — that is, to meet its obligations to respect and protect human rights — not only under the several international treaties it has signed, but also under its own Constitution. The death of Cao Shunli took place just four months after the General Assembly reelected China to the council, with 176 of 193 votes in November 2013. Even in the months leading to that election, China brazenly intensified its suppression of online freedom of speech and of the new citizen movement.

During its current three-year term as a member of the U.N. Human Rights Council, China has committed thousands of human rights violations. The peaceful Uighur scholar Ilham Tohti was arrested and later sentenced to life in 2014; Tibetan spiritual leader Tenzin Delek Rinpoche died of torture in China’s prison in 2015; the number of Tibetan self-immolators has climbed from 122 to 145. The Xi Jinping regime has waged a crackdown on China’s civil society on a scale and ferocity unseen in two decades; more than 320 human rights lawyers and activists have been harassed, arrested or disappeared. That includes my friend Hu Shigen, a peaceful human rights defender who already had been detained twice for a total of 17 years in the past 27 years and was sentenced last August to seven and a half years in prison. China’s offensive against civil society intensified further with passage of a new law a little more than a month ago imposing security controls on foreign nongovernmental organizations.

During the past three years, China has continued its repressive policies against Christians, Tibetans, Uighurs, Mongolians, Falun Gong practitioners and Hong Kong democrats. It continued not only to deny any wrongdoing in the Tiananmen massacre but also to repress any individuals and groups who have dared to expose the truth or to commemorate the victims. During those three years, China repeatedly defied the worldwide demand to release Chinese democracy pioneer Wang Bingzhang and continued to imprison Liu Xiaobo, remaining the only country detaining a Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

Coming on the heels of these notorious abuses, but with the U.N. council election obviously in mind, China’s State Council Information Office two weeks ago released the white paper “National Human Rights Action Plan of China (2016-2020),” China’s third such phony plan on the protection of human rights. The white paper repeated China’s old false promises.

We know that any candidate needs 97 votes at the U.N. General Assembly to be elected. If each of the 125 world’s democracies says no, China’s chance for readmission would be zero. The upcoming vote will test any democratic country’s commitment to human rights. I urge the United States to take the lead to form a collective action among all democracies purporting to strongly support universal principles of human rights.

In sum, no reasonable person could possibly find any excuse to either overlook China’s recent horrific human rights record or to trust one more time China’s promises to be good in the future. By any sensible standard, voting to put China on the council again would be like picking the fox to guard the henhouse — while he was still wiping the feathers off his mouth from his last meal. Democracies around the world should openly cast a no vote on China.

ChinaAid Media Team
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
For more information, click here
College students and professors listen
to Zhang Liangming's lecture.
(Photo: China Aid)
China Aid
Reported in Chinese by a China Aid correspondent. Translated by Carolyn Song.

(Lishui, Zhejiang—Oct. 24, 2016) Since the beginning of this year, the government of Lishui, a city in China’s coastal Zhejiang province, has been removing religious activity from the campus of Lishui Vocational and Technical College, telling college officials to instill atheism into college students, and to exclude theism and various religions.

In September, the government invited the head of the Lishui Municipal Religious Affairs Bureau, Zhang Liangming, to attend a religious counseling session, entitled, “Building a Correct Outlook on Life; Consciously Resisting the Corrosiveness of Religious Ideology and Every Type of Theism.” More than 100 teachers and 400 freshmen from the college attended the lecture, which was divided into six parts: 1. A correct understanding of the nature of religion, 2. The characteristics of religion, 3. A profound analysis of religious problems, 4. Religious work, 5. Religious tasks, and 6. Aspects of Marxist atheism.

China Aid exposes abuses of religious freedom, such as forcing atheistic beliefs on college students, in order to promote freedom of religion in China.

ChinaAid Media Team
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
For more information, click here
The Huffington Post
Benedict Rogers Human rights activist, writer and Conservative candidate
24/10/2016 13:56

■ The term ‘kowtow’, an adaptation of a Chinese phrase, means, according to Wikipedia, “the act of deep respect shown by prostration, that is, kneeling and bowing so low as to have one’s head touching the ground”.

In contemporary international diplomacy towards China, the definition has been taken even further. The kowtowing of too many governments and other international actors, from universities to Hollywood, towards the thuggish regime in Beijing has resulted not just in tongues licking the boots of the Chinese Communist Party, but tongues then being trapped beneath those boots and thus shamefully silenced.

The decision by the Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand to cancel a meetingwith Hong Kong’s elder statesman, founder of the democratic movement Martin Lee, and former Chief Secretary Anson Chan, was shameful - and that is putting it diplomatically. Cancelling a meeting with two such eminent, distinguished individuals, to avoid offending Beijing, is the epitome of cowardice. Bill English should hang his head in shame, for prostrating himself so blatantly towards the criminals in Beijing and abandoning those who champion democratic values.

Similarly, representatives of the medical profession who gathered recently in Beijing and lapped up the regime’s absurd assurances in response to allegations of forced organ harvesting should consult their fellow professionals who specialise in psychiatry. The evidence for the allegations of forced organ harvesting of course must be further tested, probed, questioned. But that does not mean that China’s response should be accepted carte blanche, as it was by the foreign doctors who went to Beijing and by the Minister of State at Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office Sir Alan Duncan, in his ludicrous response to a recent debate in the House of Commons on the subject. Taking Beijing’s word for it seems to be the ultimate in tooth fairy stories and goblins at the end of the garden. You think Christians, Falun Gong practitioners and Tibetan Buddhists are wacky in their spirituality? Try those who trust China.

Britain’s David Cameron and George Osborne went way overboard in their fawning subservience to China, as the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission’s report, titled “The Darkest Moment: The Crackdown on Human Rights in China 2013-2016”, detailed. Theresa May indicated a new caution, though in the end she bowed to pressure and approved Hinkley Point, a sad day for Britain. Canada’sJustin Trudeau is like a desperate teenage lover slobbering over his uninterested girlfriend. Vancouver even put up Chinese Communist flags to prove Justin’s undying love. How low can one go?

As long as lawyers are harassed, intimidated, monitored, followed, detained, locked up; as long as Christian crosses and churches are torn down; as long as Uighur Muslims are told crudely that they can’t grow beards or fast during Ramadan; as long as Tibetan Buddhists find their culture decimated; as long as Falun Gong practitioners are beaten, jailed, slaughtered; and as long as Falun Gong practitioners and others are cut open, their vital organs stolen and sold to others, and as long as there is no international, independent scrutiny of China’s organ transplant system, and no international inquiry into China’s crimes against humanity, I do not trust what China says.

So the solution? All of us, around the world, must stand up to Beijing. Enough of kowtowing. As Stein Ringen in his new book The Perfect Dictatorship puts it, “it is a bullying state - towards neighbours and towards anyone who causes it grief, even in small matters”. He notes that ahead of Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to Britain in 2014, his planners complained to Downing Street that the intended red carpet for his arrival was “three metres too short”. That sums up the obscenity that is China today, and that is the international community’s relationship with it. And it is wrong. Only Queen Elizabeth II got it right. China is a bully, and the only way to handle bullies is to stand up to them.

It’s time now to end the kowtow. It’s time to stop the boot-licking. It’s time to extract the tongue - carefully, gingerly, diplomatically so that it is in one piece - from underneath the boot. And it’s time to speak up. It’s time to say to China, asGermany’s Angela Merkel has, we want to trade with you, yes; we want to talk to you, yes; we recognise your growing influence on the world stage, yes. But, to be taken seriously as a global player, stop messing with freedoms in Hong Kong; stop jailing lawyers and dissidents; stop censoring the Internet and the media; stop chopping off Uighur Muslims’ beards; stop beating up Tibetan Buddhist monks; stop smashing Christian crosses and jailing Protestant and Catholic clergy; stop beating and jailing and torturing Falun Gong practitioners whose only crime is to believe in truthfulness, compassion and forbearance; and stop ripping out the hearts, kidneys, livers, lungs and other vital organs of living prisoners of conscience and executed prisoners - and open up your jails and hospitals for the world to see you have stopped.

That’s what we should say to China. The world should meet Anson Chan and Martin Lee. The world should meet the Dalai Lama. The world should meet representatives of the Christian, Falun Gong, Uighur and other communities. The world should meet jailed Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo, the brave lawyer Gao Zhisheng and the blind activist Chen Guangcheng. The world should call for the release of Gui Minhai, one of the five Hong Kong booksellers abducted by Chinese agents in Thailand a year ago. And the world should then re-think, recalibrate its relationship with Beijing, and act accordingly. As James Macgregor said on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, “If you act like panting puppy the object of your attention is going to think they’ve got you on a leash. China does not respect people who suck up to them.” Carpe diem; stop the kowtow.

Follow Benedict Rogers on Twitter:

ChinaAid Media Team
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
For more information, click here
Christian Today
Carey Lodge 
24 October 2016

■ A megachurch pastor who was arrested and imprisoned seven years ago for protesting the demolition of a house church in China has been released, according to reports.

Christian persecution watchdog China Aid reports that Pastor Yang Rongli was arrested along with her husband in 2009.

They had been travelling to their hometown of Linfen in Shanxi province, where a church was set for demolition by the authorities, following a prayer rally they had organised on September 14.

Pastor Yang and her husband, Wang Xiaoguang, were sentenced to seven and three years in prison respectively on charges of "gathering a mob to disturb public order", and ordered to pay a fine of 40,000 Yuan (US $5,860).

Two years of that prison sentence was to be served in a labour camp.

According to China Aid, Yang was released on October 10 but "showed physical signs of the brutality she endured while incarcerated".

Her hair had greyed "due to malnutrition and a lack of sunlight", the charity reports, and she is suffering from diabetes, kidney stones and a heart problem.

She remains under government restrictions and was therefore unavailable for interview.

According to China Aid, Yang was released on October 10
but "showed physical signs of the brutality she endured while
incarcerated". China Aid
The ruling Chinese Communist Party is believed by human rights campaigners to be becoming increasingly concerned about the influence of Christianity in the country. A report published by China Aid earlier this year found that persecution against Christians in the country has increased sevenfold since 2008.

Up to 1,700 churches have been demolished or had their crosses removed in the province over the past two years and hundreds of human rights activists, lawyers and pastors have been arrested.

In July, parents who attended one house church in Guizhou were told if they didn't stop bringing their children to church, they would not be allowed to attend college or a military academy.

In addition, anyone who brought a minor to church was warned they would be sued.

ChinaAid Media Team
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
For more information, click here
By Hannah Tooley
Sun 23 Oct 2016

■ A house church in China is continuing to meet, despite being ordered to leave their building, according to China Aid.

The Christian charity has reported that the group, central Henan province, was told to leave their premises by 25th September and destroy any "illegal structures."

The church is still meeting each day, despite the threat of arrest by authorities.

China Aid has reported that government departments have told members of Emmanuel Church that they did not have the right documents to meet legally.

Zhao, the woman in charge of the church, said that the local religious affairs bureau had given the Christians a three day warning to leave.

She said: "If we don’t move they said they will throw away our materials, seats, and quite a lot of our other things."

The Communist government said Emmanuel Church, which is unregistered, could join the Three-Self Patriotic Movement instead, which is part of an officially recognised network of churches governed by the Communist Party.

Emmanuel Church members said no.

However despite the threats Zhao has confirmed the church is still meeting each day, either gathering at night or going outside to study the Bible and pray as a group.

About the Author

Hannah Tooley

Hannah works as a multimedia journalist at Premier.

ChinaAid Media Team
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
For more information, click here
Radio Free Asia

■ Chinese authorities in the troubled northwestern region of Xinjiang have enshrined in law a campaign preventing ethnic minority Muslim parents from "forcing" them to follow their faith.

From Nov. 1, regional legislation will take effect that adds "forcing or coercing children to participate in religious activities" to existing legislation preventing juvenile crime.

China already has a Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency Law dating back to 2012 that places criminal responsibility on the shoulders of parents, teachers and other responsible adults, should a minor become involved in crime. It makes no mention of religion.

Now, the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region government has amended its regional version of the law to include religious activities, which are assumed to be linked to "separatism, extremism and terrorism," in the list of criminal acts a child may be drawn into.

Uyghur students study at a bilingual middle school in Hotan,
Xinjiang, in a file photo. AFP
It also provides for children who are found taking part in religious activities to be sent to "specialized schools for correction."

"No parents or other guardians or relatives of minors shall organize, induce or force minors to participate in religious activities," the law states.

"[They] shall not propagate extremist ideology ... lure minors into wearing extremist clothing or logos," it said.

The head of the politics and law office of the Aksu municipal education department told RFA's Uyghur Service the policies extend to family life restrictions that are "the same every part of the country."

"If anybody under 18 prays, fasts, learns religion, or follows someone to pray or go underground religious places to learn, these are all deemed illegal," said the official.

"Since underage kids do not have sound judgment and a sound sense of self control, parents should be responsible for them. If such things were to happen, parents would be punished," the official added.

Guidelines for schools

China has vowed to crack down on what it calls religious extremism in Xinjiang, and regularly conducts "strike hard” campaigns including random, nighttime police raids on Uyghur households, restrictions on Islamic practices, and curbs on the culture and language of the Uyghur people, including clothing and personal appearance.

Chinese authorities in Xinjiang routinely target men wearing beards and traditional robes and women wearing veils among the Turkic-speaking, mostly Muslim Uyghur ethnic group.

And while Beijing blames Uyghur extremists for a string of violent attacks and clashes in recent years, critics say repressive domestic policies are responsible for violence that has left hundreds dead since 2009.

Uyghur members of the ruling Chinese Communist Party and government employees have long been banned from carrying out key pillars of their faith, including fasting during Ramadan.

The new law also issues guidelines for the region's schools, requiring them to "guide minors to consciously resist ethnic separatism, extremism and terrorism."

However, rejection of separatism, extremism and terrorism appeared to be closely linked to the rejection of any religious belief whatsoever.

Schools should "advocate science and the pursuit of truth, while rejecting ignorance and superstition, to resist extremist fads on campus," it said.

Children who do not comply can be referred to "specialist schools" where they will receive "correction," the law says.

The law comes after authorities across the region, particularly in the Hotan (in Chinese, Hetian), Kashgar (Kashi), and Aksu (Akesu) prefectures, began to put heavy pressure on Uyghur parents and guardians of children and teens in 2014 to sign pledges promising not to allow them to take part in any religious activity.

Families whose children study the Quran or fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan have already been hit with hefty fines, but the new law is the first to target the children themselves for punishment.

‘Policy is a provocation’

Staff in educational institutions are also being required to sign pledges to avoid any sort of religious activity or else of loss their jobs, according to the World Uyghur Congress, an international organization that represents the interests of Uyghurs in Xinjiang and abroad.

And the controls remain after children turn 18, the legal threshold for adulthood in China, with Uyghurs often still needing the permission of their employers to practice as Muslims or to join a mosque.

Dilxat Raxit, spokesman for the World Uyghur Congress, said the law is aimed at eliminating religious belief among the next generation of ethnic minorities in Xinjiang.

"With this law, China wants to put further restrictions in place to force Uyghurs to give up their religious beliefs," Raxit said.

"If the younger generation loses its faith as a result of coercion, then the next generation of Uyghurs won't have a religion," he said.

But he said the policy is unlikely to succeed.

"The Uyghurs' belief in Islamic education is inextricably linked to their culture," Raxit said. "When [Christians] in the West go to church, of course they take their kids along, and it's the same with Uyghurs and Islam."

"This policy is a provocation that will spark a further resistance and lead to more unrest in the region," he said.

Ilshat Hasan, president of the Uyghur American Association, told RFA the measures were "oppressive and extreme" and "clearly show that China is reaching its hands even into the family."

Xinjiang-based rights activist Hu Jun said the move is part of an ever-broadening security crackdown in Xinjiang.

"This is happening everywhere now, where they are forcing people not to do this, or not to take part in that," Hu said. "They will stop at nothing."

"They're going over the top now," he said. "It won't work, and it's going to cause a backlash of ill-will against the government."

Reported by Xin Lin for RFA's Mandarin Service, by Ho Shan for the Cantonese Service, and by Kurban Niyaz and Gulchehra Hoja for the Uyghur Service. Translated by by Luisetta Mudie and Mamatjan Juma. Written in English by Luisetta Mudie.

ChinaAid Media Team
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
For more information, click here
Radio Free Asia

■ A court in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong has upheld a bribery conviction against the former head of the rebel village of Wukan, amid accusations that the authorities forced him to "confess" on local television.

Lin Zuluan, former ruling Communist Party secretary for Guangdong's Wukan village, was handed a 37-month jail term and a U.S.$60,000 fine after a court in Foshan city found him guilty of taking bribes and of other charges last month.

Lin, 72, had led a grassroots land protest campaign over the unauthorized sale of Wukan's farmland by his predecessor in 2011.

But few in Wukan believed his confession, which came after two other protest leaders received similar convictions, to be genuine.

Detained former Wukan village party secretary Lin Zuluan is
shown in a file photo in 2014. AFP
Yu Pinjian, a defense lawyer hired by Lin's family but prevented from carrying out his instructions by police, told RFA the result didn't come as a surprise.

"It is extremely common to see initial rulings upheld on appeal in China's judicial system," Yu said. "We weren't surprised by this outcome."

But he said the appeal was worth bringing, in order to highlight illegal actions by the authorities in securing Lin's "confession."

"My personal opinion is that this is highly inappropriate in terms of due legal process," Yu said. "In the past few days the Supreme People's Court and Procuratorate and ... law enforcement agencies have issued a joint statement forbidding the use of such confessions as evidence of a person's guilt."

"So it's clear that these televised confessions don't fit in with those requirements."

Lawyers blocked

Henan-based rights lawyer Chang Boyang agreed, adding that the authorities had prevented from him exercising his right to a fair trial.

"Lin Zuluan's family hired several lawyers including Ge Yongxi and Yu Pinjian," Chang said. "But they were prevented from acting on his behalf by the judicial authorities and under huge pressure from police."

"Then, the authorities broke the rules by forcibly appointing a lawyer for him, [which isn't] supposed to happen according to the law."

"But China's law enforcement agencies currently regard their own laws as expendable trash, and blatantly break their own rules," he said.

Lin's arrest prompted weeks of daily protests by thousands of residents of Wukan, who said the charges against him were a form of political retaliation by officials in nearby Lufeng city.

Constitutional affairs scholar and former delegate to the National People's Congress (NPC) Yao Lifa said the result shows that little has changed in China, in spite of the election of Lin and other former protest leaders to their village leadership in 2012.

"There is generally no change at all in the original verdict on appeal," Yao said. "The only hope of a change in verdict lies with the emergence of new and very strong evidence. Then it might happen."

"Without that, there's no chance" he said.

Bribery charges

In 2011, the provincial government unexpectedly sided with Wukan, overriding officials in nearby Lufeng in a move that observers said was likely linked to attempts by then provincial leader Wang Yang to gain promotion.

The removal of Xue Chang and subsequent village elections were held up as a model of grassroots democracy in China at the time.

But since provincial leader Hu Chunhua took over in Guangdong in 2012, several former protest leaders from Wukan have been jailed on alleged "bribery" charges.

Last June, villagers persuaded Lin to mastermind a new land petition campaign, but he was detained before he could launch it, setting in motion more than 80 days of consecutive street protests.

In Hong Kong, a group of around a dozen protesters gathered outside Beijing's representative office in the former British colony, chanting: "There is no crime in fighting for your rights! Release the Wukan villagers now! Release Lin Zuluan!"

Pan-democratic lawmaker Kwok Ka-ki, who attended the protest, said a number of villagers remain in detention following a recent crackdown on daily demonstrations in Wukan over the summer.

"We call on the central government to release Lin Zuluan and all wrongfully detained Wukan villagers now behind bars," Kwok said.

"Countless Wukan villagers were beaten up and detained, and that makes us very angry," he said. "We call for the corrupt officials behind this to be arrested and given a heavy sentence."

Reported by Wong Lok-to for RFA's Cantonese Service, and by Lucy Lu and Qiao Long for the Mandarin Service. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.

ChinaAid Media Team
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
For more information, click here
Christians meet in a house church. (Photo: China Aid)
China Aid
Reported in Chinese by Qiao Nong. Translated by Carolyn Song. Written in English by Brynne Lawrence.

(Zhengzhou, Henan—Oct. 21, 2016) After being ordered to move out of their building by Sept. 25 and destroy any “illegal structures,” a house church in China’s central Henan province continues to meet daily despite threats of arrest.

Recently, personnel from several government departments informed the members of Emmanuel Church that they lacked the appropriate documents to meet legally and threatened to arrest anyone who continued to attend the church’s services. According to Zhao, the woman in charge of the church, the local religious affairs bureau then issued a notice on Aug. 24, commanding the church to move out of its building by Sept. 25 and requiring its attendees to destroy any “illegal structures” within three days or face penalties.

“If we don’t move,” Zhao said, “they said they will throw away our materials, seats, and quite a lot of our other things.”

Despite these threats, Zhao says that the church now meets daily, sometimes even gathering at night or going out into the wilderness to study the Bible and pray.

Previously, China Aid reported government pressure against Emmanuel Church, as authorities tried to coerce them into joining the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM), an officially recognized network of churches governed by the Communist Party. The Emmanuel Church members refused.

When a religious affairs bureau official surnamed Bai saw China Aid’s report, she asked Zhao how foreign media obtained this information. Zhao denied contacting any overseas news sources, saying that she had disclosed the situation on WeChat and asked for prayer. Bai scolded her for posting about the incident.

China Aid reports abuses, such as those suffered by the members of Emmanuel Church, in order to stand in solidarity with persecuted Christians and promote religious freedom in China.

ChinaAid Media Team
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
For more information, click here
The Epoch Times
By Frank Fang
October 19, 2016 AT 3:51 pm
Last Updated: October 19, 2016 6:17 pm

■ A Chinese civic movement to put former regime head Jiang Zemin on trial for his murderous anti-Falun Gong campaign, has attracted millions of supporters from the rest of East Asia. To date, more than 1.8 million people from Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and Japan have signed a petition that calls upon China’s supreme judicial bodies to prosecute Jiang.

Falun Gong practitioners at a rally in front of the Chinese
embassy in New York City on July 3, 2015, to support the
global effort to sue Jiang Zemin. (Larry Dye/Epoch Times)
Jiang, aside from encouraging and benefiting politically from a staggering degree of corruption in the state and Communist Party apparatus during and after his time in power from 1989 to 2004, started the ongoing persecution of the Falun Gong spiritual practice in 1999. The bloody repression, often glossed over in the climate of China’s economic rise, has tens of millions of victims.

According to, a website that carries first-hand information about the persecution, over 209,800 Falun Gong practitioners from around the world have filed criminal complaints with the Chinese regime’s highest court and prosecuting body since mid-2014. The plaintiffs accuse Jiang of crimes against humanity and genocide.

Chinese President, Hu Jintao, (L) talks
with former President, Jiang Zemin, 
during a meeting on September 3, 
2005 in Beijing, China. 
(Andrew Wong/Getty Images)
According to Theresa Chu, Taiwanese human rights lawyer and coordinator of the petition drive in the Asia-Pacific region, the overwhelming majority of signatures came from people living in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, for a total of about 1.6 million. The action has been on for over a year, led by volunteers who solicit signatures from their friends, family, and strangers, often in person.

“If the Chinese regime does not put on trial Jiang Zemin according to its law, we can, in accordance with the supplementary rules of the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, ask the chief prosecutor to investigate,” Chu said in an interview with New York-based New Tang Dynasty Television.

Theresa Chu speaks with New Tang 
Dynasty. (NTD)
The nationwide persecution against Falun Gong, a mind-and-body discipline rooted in ancient Chinese traditions, began on July 20, 1999, when Jiang acted on his fears that the large number of adherents — 70 million according to one state survey — would undermine the reign of the Chinese Communist Party. Millions of Falun Gong practitioners have been thrown into prisons, ideological re-education centers, and labor camps, while being subjected to torture, forced labor and brainwashing.

Falun Gong practitioners exercise in Beijing, before the
persecution began on July 20, 1999. (
Investigations by human rights researchers suggest that over a million prisoners have been murdered by the authorities for their internal organs. A study published in June by David Kilgour, a former member of Canadian Parliament, David Matas, a Canadian lawyer, and American writer Ethan Gutmann found that organs harvested from Falun Gong prisoners made up the vast majority of the 1.5 million organ transplants in China since 2000.

Chu is not optimistic that the Chinese regime, at least not under its present one-party system, will carry out a serious investigation of the organ harvesting allegations, and neither would it send Jiang to the international criminal court.

A banner pasted at a public security
checkpoint in Beijing calls for the 
prosecution of Jiang Zemin. 
As for China’s announcement in September this year that it would work more closely with the United Nations Human Rights Council, Chu said any form of human rights cooperation would be meaningful only if the Chinese regime would end its 17-year persecution of Falun Gong and hand over evidence of Jiang’s crimes to the U.N., while allowing independent investigations in China.

“If China really wants to cooperate with the U.N.,” Chu said, “it should abandon its autocratic system and become a democratic country.”

Minghui reports that similar petitions are taking off within mainland China despite strict regime controls. In Chaoyang, a city of half a million in northern China’s Liaoning Province, over 30,000 local residents had signed the petition to bring Jiang to justice. Over 6,000 residents in Zhangjiakou and nearby areas in neighboring Hebei Province had also signed their names.

ChinaAid Media Team
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
For more information, click here
The Gospel Herald
By Leah Marieann Klett
Oct 20, 2016 12:01 pm EDT

■ A prominent Chinese pastor who was arrested for protesting the forced demolition of a local church has been released after enduring seven years in prison, where she was reportedly tortured.

According to persecution watchdog China Aid, Pastor Yang Rongli, who led the 50,000-member Linfen Church in Shaanxi province, and her husband Wang Xiaoguang were arrested in 2009 while traveling to Taiyuan, the provincial capital, to protest the demolition of a house church in their hometown.

Later that year, they were convicted of "gathering a mob to disturb public order" for holding a prayer rally on Sept. 14, the day after 400 military police raided the church's grounds. During the raid, more than 30 believers were seriously wounded and 17 buildings were destroyed.

Authorities sentenced Yang and Wang to seven and three years in prison, respectively, and fined the couple a total of 40,000 Yuan (U.S. $5,860).

New religious rules scheduled to be adopted in China on Oct.
7, 2016, will negatively affect the church's open community
there, warn Cathliocs. In addition, the rules will place hefty
financial fines on unapproved religious activities and severly
hamper local residents interaction with foreign supporters,
say opponents. CNS photo/Wu Hong
Yang was forced to serve the entirety of her sentence, despite her insistence that the charge was falsified, and was released last week. During her time in prison, the pastor was reportedly tortured and upon her release showed physical signs of the brutality she endured.

Despite suffering from two kidney stones, hepatitis, diabetes, and a heart problem, Yang was denied medical assistance during her time in prison, according to the Human Rights Commission. However, the pastor has reportedly forgiven her persecutors and was in good spirits regarding her freedom.

China is ranked 33rd on Open Door USA's World Watch List of countries where Christians face the most persecution. Over the past several years, hundreds of underground church members, priests, human rights lawyers, and other activists have been arrested by the Communist Party for protesting against the nationwide crackdown on churches.

Government workers have removed thousands of church rooftop crosses and bulldozed churches, calling them building code violations, though groups like China Aid have said that Communist Party officials are seeking to purposefully curb the growth of Christianity.

Nevertheless, Christianity continues to grow across China, and the country is on track to have the largest Christian population in the world by 2030.

"While we still feel the pain and suffering of our brothers and sisters in China, we have seen the Good News spark the rapid growth of Christianity," China Aid president Bob Fu told The Gospel Herald. "We have seen a great revival - more and more believers are becoming actively involved. I believe that in the end, the Communist Party will be called the 'Servant of the Lord.'"

ChinaAid Media Team
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
For more information, click here
Radio Free Asia

■ Chinese authorities in the northwestern region of Xinjiang are requiring residents, who include the mostly Muslim Turkic-speaking Uyghur group, to hand in their passports to police by early next year amid ongoing travel restrictions specific to the troubled region.

The Shihezi municipal police department made the announcement, which comes after similar orders were issued in Xinjiang's Ili prefecture in April 2015, in a statement posted to its official social media accounts.

"Please hand in your passports for annual review at the police station in the district of your household registration, or at the Shihezi municipal police department, after which all passports will be held by the police department," the statement, dated Oct. 19, said.

Map showing location of Ili prefecture in Xinjiang. RFA
"Those who do not comply will have to bear the consequences, which include not being permitted to leave the country," said the statement, which was later deleted from the popular Twitter-like service Sina Weibo, returning a "Page Not Found" message on Thursday.

Last year, an April 30 notice issued by the ruling Chinese Communist Party's powerful political and legal affairs committee in Xinjiang's Ili prefecture made a similar order.

It was followed up last June 1 by a directive requiring all applicants for passports and other travel documents in Ili to supply a DNA sample, fingerprints, a voice-print sample, and a 3D body scan image.

The Shihezi rules appeared to be very similar, also requiring "biometric data" to be lodged with police before an application can be processed.

"All applicants for passports will in future be required to present themselves at their local police station for the collection of biometric data, before obtaining a form from the police entry and exit bureau," it said.

Feb. 16 deadline

An employee who answered the phone at the Shihezi police department entry and exit bureau on Thursdayconfirmed the new rules, saying they are currently being rolled out across the Xinjiang Uyghur AutonomousRegion.

"The official deadline for passports to be handed in ... is Feb. 16, 2017," the employee said.

"The policy applies across the whole of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region."

RFA's Uyghur Service found that in addition to Shihezi, several other local police departments in the Uyghur region, including Manaz, Kumul and Mindong, had issued orders for passport holders to return their documents.

In the Fuxing district of Kumul city police issued an "urgent notice" on Oct. 15 setting a deadline for passports to be turned in by Oct. 18. The Shihezi notice included a warning to residents stating "if you do not hand over your passports, bare the consequence yourself.”

In Manas, meanwhile, authorities told RFA they had stopped issuing new passports on Oct. 10 to make way for an electronic passport system update and they gave not date for when passport issuance would resume.

While the new rules are ostensibly universal, restrictions on passports have targeted ethnic minority groups in the past, making it harder for Uyghurs to book overseas vacations or go on the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, regional sources have told RFA.

Munich-based exile World Uyghur Congress (WUC) spokesman Dilxat Raxit said he believes the new rules are still designed to target Uyghurs, who have been portrayed by Beijing as potential terrorists after a wave of violentincidents hit the region following a crackdown on an initially peaceful protest in the regional capital, Urumqi, in July 2009.

"It's fairly clear that this policy, while appearing to apply to everyone, is actually aimed at Uyghurs," Raxit told RFA on Thursday, adding that the majority Han Chinese population had "become victims" in the process.

"The confiscation of people's passports reflects the hostile attitude of the Chinese government," Raxit said. "I hope that this extreme policy will attract the attention of the international community."

Harsh turn in policy seen

WUC Secretary General Dolkun Isa told RFA that ever since China claimed last year that they had simplified the passport application process, "we had reports that the people who need passports badly were rejected, but the people who do not need passports or who cannot go anywhere were given passports."

In most of China, residents are able to get a passport by filling out an application form and supplying their national ID card

But far more stringent rules are applied in ethnic minority regions where opposition to Chinese rule is strong, and where the authorities fear instability.

A resident of Shihezi told RFA on Thursday that the new rules had made life far less convenient for local people.

"I'm a little reluctant to hand in my passport, because now I'll have to get it back off the police if I want to leave the country," the resident said.

"We all know that these new rules are necessary, but there's a lot of complaining about it, because it's a lot more hassle."

He said that passport-holders wishing to take back their passports from police before travel are required to make the journey in person.

"This is going to inconvenience a lot of people here," the resident said.

Ilshat Hasan, president of Uyghur American Association, told RFA the passport policy signaled a harsh approach to Uyghur communities.

"I don’t think this policy will bring any benefit to the region. This will increase resentment and resistance in the region and this kind of harsh policy will create a large-scale exodus, as people will try to escape by different means," he said.

Reported by Ng Yik-tung and Sing Man for RFA's Cantonese Service, by Yang Fan for the Mandarin Service, and by Irade for the Uyghur Service. Translated by Mamatjan Juma and Luisetta Mudie. Written in English byLuisetta Mudie.

ChinaAid Media Team
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
For more information, click here
The Gospel Herald
By Leah Marieann Klett
Oct 19, 2016 10:25 am EDT

■ A prominent house church pastor in China's central Guizhou province is awaiting prosecution after being arrested and charged with "divulging state secrets" amid an ongoing crackdown on Christians in the country.

According to persecution watchdog China Aid, Pastor Su Tianfu, who is one of several Christians fromHuoshi Church swept into legal proceedings as part of a government crackdown, consulted his lawyer after obtaining a notice that his case would be transferred to the Procuratorate.

The attorney informed the pastor, who has been under constant surveillance since last December, that this marked the end of official investigation on his case and that it would be given to the Procuratorate for prosecution.

China Aid reports that the pastor's troubles began last year, when the government issued an administrative penalty notice addressed to him, accountant and chairwoman of the church's deaconsZhang Xiuhong, and church member Liang Xuewu on Oct. 21, 2015. The document accused them of changing the approved usage of an office from "business operations" to religious activities, despite having rented the space to hold church services.

A house church pastor leads congregants in prayer
Wayne Mcallister, ABC News
The government ordered church leaders to revert the space to its original use within 15 days or incur a fine that would accumulate thousands of dollars per day. However, officials froze the church's bank account after Zhang attempted to withdraw funds at her beauty shop, leaving them unable to pay the fine.

Because of the church's failure to pay the fine, the authorities recently doubled it before charging Su with "divulging state secrets."

"How can I have state secrets?" the pastor asked. "This is for the report received by foreign media on how the churches are being persecuted. I forwarded the article on WeChat. A brother took a snapshot of this report and wrote a prayer letter. I forwarded the prayer letter."

The pastor's imprisonment comes as the Communist government continues to tighten its grip on Christianity; over the past year, up to 1,700 churches have been demolished or had their crosses removed in Zhejiang alone province, and a significant number of pastors and human rights lawyers have been arrested and incarcerated.

As earlier reported, the Chinese government recently implemented harsh new regulations intended to suppress independent religious organizations as part of a general and ongoing crusade against the "three evils"- separatism, terrorism, and religious extremism.

Nevertheless, the growth rate of Christianity in China has been put at 7 percent a year by David Aikman, author of Jesus in Beijing, a former TIME Magazine bureau chief in Beijing, and the country is on track to have the largest Christian population in the world by 2030.

ChinaAid Media Team
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
For more information, click here
Radio Free Asia

■ Authorities in southern China have tried two members of an unofficial Protestant "house church" on spying charges, while a third has been tried for "illegal business activities," lawyers and church members said on Wednesday.

Wang Yao and Yu Lei stood trial on Monday and Wednesday at the Guiyang Intermediate People's Court in the southwestern province of Guizhou on charges of "deliberately revealing state secrets," following an ongoing crackdown on their Huoshi Church by police and religious affairs officials.

"Wang Yao's trial was on Monday and Yu Lei's was on Wednesday," a fellow Huoshi church member who asked to remain anonymous told RFA.

"Wang Yao's family weren't allowed to attend the trial, and neither were two lawyers hired by her family to defend her," said the church member, who is under close surveillance by police and local officials.

"There have been people watching me in the past few days from my neighborhood committee and the local police station," the church member said.

"They follow me wherever I go. The police have placed very tight controls on all Huoshi Church members."

'Illegal business'

In Guangzhou, Li Hongmin stood trial on Monday for "running an illegal business" after being accused of printing more than 11,000 copies of 125 different Protestant tracts for distribution.

Cross is shown on a church in Zhejiang province, July 27,
2015. Photo courtesy of a church member.
Li pleaded not guilty, and Beijing-based rights lawyers Li Boguang and Liu Peifu argued that Li was merely exercising a constitutional right to freedom of religion.

Li's trial was attended by around 20 close relatives, including his wife and parents, Guangfu Church pastor Ma Ke told RFA on Wednesday, adding that he was denied entry to the courtroom.

"I asked them why they wouldn't let me in, because I'd applied to add my name to the list a long time ago, and they said they didn't know, but they had to go by the list of names they had, and mine wasn't on it," Ma said.

"I just waited outside the court instead ... The lawyers told me that the material Li Hongmin had printed was all for internal circulation within the church," he said.

Torture, ill-treatment

Meanwhile, lawyers for Huoshi's pastor Yang Hua said he is suffering from a number of "serious health problems" following torture and ill-treatment during his detention.

Yang "has been suffering from serious health conditions and is suffering from liver pain along with various other serious diseases," lawyers Chen Jiangang and Zhao Yonglin told the U.S.-based Christian rights group ChinaAid.

"Prosecutors visited him twice, applied pressure to his feet, and repeatedly threatened to kill him and harm his family members if he failed to confess his supposed crimes," the group quoted the lawyers as saying.

Yang's lawyers said they plan to sue the prosecution team for "using torture to extract a confession."

ChinaAid said fellow Huoshi pastor Su Tianfu is also facing charges of "revealing state secrets," linked to reports on the persecution of Protestant house churches in China that were forwarded to foreign media organizations.

Controls on religion

The ruling Chinese Communist Party, which embraces atheism, exercises tight controls over any form of religious practice among its citizens.

China is home to an estimated 68 million Protestants, of whom 23 million worship in state-affiliated churches, and some nine million Catholics, 5.7 million of whom are in state-sponsored organizations.

The administration of President Xi Jinping regards Christianity as a dangerous foreign import, with officials warning last year against the "infiltration of Western hostile forces" in the form of religion.

A crackdown on Protestant churches in the eastern province of Zhejiang has widened and intensified to other regions of China during the past year, church members have told RFA.

Last month, China's cabinet, the State Council, released a draft set of draconian rules setting out measures aimed at eliminating unofficial Christian worship and "separatists" among Tibetans and Muslim Uyghurs.

They include bans on preaching or running religious events in schools and on "providing religious services online."

Individuals and groups are also prohibited from "organizing citizens to attend religious training, conferences, and activities overseas," according to a copy of the draft rules seen by RFA.

Some of the rules call on government agencies to "take precautions against separatism, terrorism, and infiltration by foreign forces."

They also impose restrictions on the acceptance of teaching posts in foreign countries, while a clause forbidding "religious activities in unapproved sites" calls on local governments to extend a nationwide crackdown on house churches not affiliated with the Three-Self Patriotic Association of government-approved churches.

Shrinking space

Beijing-based Xu Yonghai, who heads the Beijing Sheng'ai Protestant Family Church Fellowship, said the new rules represent a worsening of the environment for religious worship in China.

"The space for those of us with religious beliefs is getting smaller and smaller," Xu told RFA on Wednesday. "They are still tolerating smaller meetings held in people's homes, but they won't allow us to meet in large venues."

He said the authorities usually find some excuse to keep up the pressure even then.

"They'll say we can't meet at Zhang's house; we have to go to Li's house, or that we can't meet on a Sunday, and we have to meet on a different day," Xu said.

"We're hanging in there," he said.

Reported by Qiao Long for RFA's Mandarin Service. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie.

ChinaAid Media Team
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
For more information, click here
Radio Free Asia

■ Chinese police in Sichuan’s Ngaba county detained and beat a Tibetan monk this week, leaving him hospitalized with severe injuries after he staged a solitary protest opposing Beijing’s rule in Tibetan areas, according to a local source.

Lobsang Tsultrim, a monk in Ngaba (in Chinese, Aba) county’s Kirti monastery, was taken into custody at around 1:00 p.m. on Oct. 17 after shouting slogans while walking along a street in Ngaba county’s main town, a resident of the area told RFA’s Tibetan Service.

Map showing Ngaba county in Sichuan province. RFA
“He called out for Tibetan freedom and for the long life of [exiled spiritual leader] the Dalai Lama as he walked, and when he arrived at the street in front of the Tibetan Language Middle School he was stopped by police and taken away,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Tsultrim was then severely beaten by police and held overnight at a court house in the town, the source said.

“He was rushed to Ngaba Hospital the next day and is now reported to be in critical condition,” he said.

On Oct. 18, a group of Chinese police went to Kirti to question monks about the incident, and the presence of police and security officers has now been strengthened throughout the town, RFA’s source said.

Repeated protests

Ngaba’s Kirti monastery and the county’s main town have been the scene of repeated self-immolations and other protests in recent years by monks, former monks, and nuns opposed to Chinese rule.

Two days before Tsultrim’s protest, Kirti monastery had begun a four-day event marking completion of a lavish new residence for the monastery’s abbot, who lives in Dharamsala, India, seat of Tibet’s government in exile.

Restrictions imposed on the celebration by authorities, including the banning of local students then on their holiday break, “had become unbearable, and these may have triggered [Tsultrim’s] protest,” RFA’s source said.

Sporadic demonstrations challenging Beijing’s rule have continued in Tibetan-populated areas of China since widespread protests swept the region in 2008.

A total of 145 Tibetans living in China have set themselves ablaze in self-immolations since the wave of fiery protests began in 2009, with most protests featuring calls for Tibetan freedom and the Dalai Lama’s return from India, where he has lived since escaping Tibet during a failed national uprising in 1959.

Reported by Kunsang Tenzin for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.

ChinaAid Media Team
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
For more information, click here
Gospel Herald
By Leah Marieann Klett
Oct 18, 2016 10:35 am EDT

■ A Christian leader in China's southern Guangdong province arrested for printing religious materials faces criminal sentencing after standing trial today, a persecution watchdog has revealed.

According to China Aid, Li Hongmin, a member of a house church in Guangzhou, was detained earlier this year for "illegal business operations" after he printed various Christian booklets, including the popular devotional Streams in the Desert.

Authorities confiscated these printings, as well as Li's cell phone and other personal items before raiding his house. A source told China Aid that the authorities told Li that he would only be held for two hours and would be allowed to go home. However, they did not let him go home but detained him instead.

At the time, Li's wife expressed shock and disbelief after hearing of the severity of the charges that were made against her husband, arguing that the materials being printed out by Li was far from being "illegal" or dangerous.

"The materials we printed were not heresies. They were not opposed to the Communist Party in any way. On the contrary, they teach people to help others, to love their fellow countrymen, their home and their country," she said.

During the trial, Li's lawyers, Li Baiguang and Liu Peifu, echoed such a sentiment and upheld their client's innocence. The court has yet to issue a verdict, according to China Aid.

Photo: People pray at a small Protestant underground church
that operates in a shopfront in Beijing
Wayne Mcallister, ABC News
Since assuming office in March 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping has shown discomfort with the country's 67 million to 100 million Christians, and in April told his Communist Party members that they must be "unyielding Marxist atheists" who will control Christians and other religious groups in the country.

Thus, since 2014, the Communist regime has been targeting Christians and demolishing churches, deeming the buildings "illegal." The government has demolished more than 200 churches and removed over 2,000 crosses in China's Zhejiang province - known as "China's Jerusalem" due to its large Christian population - in an effort to limit Christianity's influence in the region.

The persecution is expected to only increase: Last month, China enacted laws that tighten control over foreign clergy and online religious material and impose fines of up to $30,000 for "illegal religious activities," such as unauthorized pilgrimages. The new regulations state that "citizens enjoy religious freedom" in China and that "no organization can discriminate against citizens who believe in a religion."

"Any religious group or religious individual should not use religion to bring threats against national security," reads a two-page letter explaining the new regulations. The government added that "religious institutions or any religious publication should not use the Internet to fuel protest, create national division or terrorist activity."

China watcher Brent Fulton told CBN that officials have long viewed Christianity as a Western tool that undermines and tries to infiltrate China: "In these new regulations there are things that specifically mention foreign infiltration," Fulton, with China Source, said. "I think that's what they are most concerned about--the influence of the West as they see it happening through the church."

Dr. David Curry, president of persecution watchdog Open Doors USA, told CBN that the new laws do have some common sense religious regulations that could protect the rights of Christians, but expressed concern over the long term impact they'll have on China's Christian population.

"Many people within China view Christianity and their rapid growth as a threat to national unity," he said

ChinaAid Media Team
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
For more information, click here
Escorted by government officials, Yang Rongli leaves
Shanxi Women's prison. (Photo: China Aid)
China Aid
By Brynne Lawrence

Updated on Oct. 21, 2016, at 9:22 a.m. 

(Linfen, Shanxi—Oct. 19, 2016) After seven years in official custody, the pastor of a megachurch in China’s northern Shanxi province was released on Oct. 10.

On the morning of Sept. 13, 2009, the local government dispatched more than 500 police officers and casually dressed personnel, who broke into churches and a Christian shoe factory. They beat approximately 100 Christians, and many were injured or fell unconscious. 10 days later, authorities dispatched bulldozers and excavators to destroy multiple buildings, while government employees smashed televisions, refrigerators, cars, kitchenware, and other church property.

Afterward, Pastor Yang Rongli and her husband, Wang Xiaoguang, were arrested while traveling to Taiyuan, the provincial capital, to protest the demolition of a house church in Linfen, their hometown.

Yang Rongli poses next to a sign for Shanxi Women's Prison,
where she was incarcerated. (Photo: China Aid)
On Nov. 25, 2009, they were convicted of “gathering a mob to disturb public order” for holding a prayer rally on Sept. 14. Authorities sentenced Yang and Wang to seven and three years in prison, respectively, and fined the couple a total of 40,000 Yuan (U.S. $5,860). Five days later, they were ordered to serve in a labor camp for two years.

Yang was forced to serve the entirety of her sentence, despite her insistence that the charge was falsified.

Upon release, Yang showed physical signs of the brutality she endured while incarcerated. Her hair grayed due to malnutrition and a lack of sunlight, and at the time of the report she suffered from two kidney stones, diabetes, and a heart problem.

Despite her ailments, she was reported to be in good spirits regarding her freedom, and has no complaints or resentment.

Due to continued government restrictions against her, Yang is unable to receive interviews at this time.

China Aid reports on abuses, such as those suffered by Yang Rongli, in order to stand in solidarity with persecuted Christians and promote religious freedom in China.

ChinaAid Media Team
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
For more information, click here