Friday, November 13, 2009

Linfen Fushan Church Leaders Rushed to Trial without Notice

Pastor Wang Xiaoguang was visited by his lawyer in prison, after the Linfen Court abruptly send the Fushan Church case to trial.

November 13, 2009

SHANXI--On November 10, Pastor Wang Xiaoguang's lawyer visited him in prison, the first of many visits to come. His lawyer described Pastor Wang to be in good spirits despite the dire and intense circumstances surrounding his detention.

On Monday morning, November 2, (Beijing time), Judge Sun of the Linfen Intermediate Court instructed the families of the five remaining imprisoned pastors and leaders of Linfen-Fushan Church to hire lawyers to defend their family members in an immediate trial. They had received no prior warning or notification of arrest (a legal document that follows the issue of warrant of criminal detention according to Chinese procedural law)--though their loved ones have been detained for over 50 days. Read the press release of the initial arrests, from 9/29/2009.

Pastor Yang Rongli was arrested on Sept. 25th. Read her alleged "Illegal Charges" against the state.

Pastor Yang Rongli was further transferred to Taiyuan City Detention Center in the capital of Shanxi province, which is a high-security prison controlled directly by the Central government. She is feared to be in great danger. No lawyer has yet been allowed to represent her. The disregard of procedure and the hasty announcement of the trial led church members suspect the trial has been rushed to reach a verdict quickly, without due process, and to avoid any potential embarrassment for China with distinguished guest, President Barack Obama visiting Beijing on November 15.

With very little time to hire defense, church members were discouraged--especially after one lawyer traveled to Linfen to meet with Pastor yang and take her case, but was not allowed to meet with her while staying for a full week. He left Linfen City just two days before the trial was announced. Though no Notice of Arrests were issued before the trial announcement, ChinaAid did received and translate copies of the official Notices of Criminal Detention for the following Fushan Church leaders arrested and detained in prison: (Sentenced 10/10/09, translated 10/29/09):

Yang Hongzhen, Li Shuangping, [Eng. Vers. for Yang and Li] Zhang Huamei, Yang Rongli, Wang Xiaoguang, Cui Jiaxing, Zhao Guoai, Gao Fuqin, and Yang Caizhen and Yang Xuan (arrested in October).

The son and daughter-in-law of sister Zhang Huamei sent a letter on her behalf to the renowned Dr. Fan Yafeng, a Chinese legal researcher based in Beijing. Read the Letter to Dr. Fan Yafeng from the Son and Daughter-in-law of Zhang Huamei.

ChinaAid believes this letter of request to defend such a highly sensitive case on behalf of a Fushan Church member may have been the tipping point that resulted in Dr. Fan's summary termination from the China Academy of Social Sciences on Monday, November 1st. (Read the press release on Dr. Fan's dismissal from 11/2/2009).

Dr. Fan boasts a long and proud history in legal defense work, and was informed by the Party Secretary at his work that he was being dismissed for "political reasons." Dr. Fan had expressed previous concern regarding interaction with the Fushan Church case, even cautioning President of ChinaAid Bob Fu to be careful in directing legal counsel toward the church, during the crackdown before the Oct. 1st celebrations. Read the press release on the Crackdown before the 60th Anniversary of CPC-rule.

Pastor Wang's buoyant faith belies the intensity wearing down church members suffering from persecution. One testimony described the brutal treatment of one of the victims of the attack on September 13th: "Christian Wang Jin Feng’s head was injured by bricks and iron sheet. After being hit by an iron stick and a hoe, she fell into coma. The police refused to send her to the hospital, instead they said, 'let Jesus take care of you'."

Fushan Church members recently sent the following partial list of church members severely injured in that 3:00 AM raze: Qiao Qingzhen, Wei Xiaoping, Yu Feng, Guo Xiulan, Guo Lianhe, Li Jinfeng, Qin Youde, Liu Feng, Shan Qinglian, Yang Xiue, Gu Qingping, Duan Xiuling, Li Xuejun, Gao Xuezhen, Zhang Cuihua, Guo Yanyan, Ji Lanfang, Guo Shouyuan, Bo Haixia, Xiu Xiuzhen, Bochuang, Guo Xiuhong, Gao Hongye, Mao Honghua, Shan Wenxiu, Zhang Xiulian, Wan ang, Ti Cuifeng.

Even after the devastating 9/13 event, Christians in Fushan continued to be threatened and oppressed by the local governments and city committees. Officials barred their children from attending school and withheld paychecks from family and friends. Relatives were placed under suspicion, in jeopardy of losing their property or land. Christians continue to be guarded by police and separated from their families.They have lost their freedom, and the government refuses to find a settlement for the injured Christians; instead, the government issued two books--Regulations on Religious Affairs, published in January 2005, and The Publicity of Policies and Laws on Religion, published by the Linfen Bureau of Ethnicity and Religious Affairs in September, 2009.

Now as President Obama journeys to China, the international community has the opportunity to challenge the brutal treatment of house churches and Christians inhumanely persecuted by the government responsible for protecting them.

ChinaAid urges the international community take a stand: we challenge President Obama to address this issue, to raise the question of Linfen Fushan Church's case to the Chinese government, and to demand accountability for an unjustifiable human rights abuse record. ChinaAid President Fu Xiqiu "Bob" further urges for the State spokesperson statement or high-level diplomatic intervention on behalf of these persecuted believers.

To contact the local authorities, call the following agencies;

Secretary of Linfen City, Shanxi Province: +0-357-202-6513

Committee of Fushan Town: +0-357-812-2131

Secretary of Linfen Committee Office: +0-357-209-0427

Mayor of Linfen City: +0-357-209-1044

Office of United Front Work in Linfen: +0-357-209-0527

Linfen Bureau of Public Security: +0-357-218-8317

Linfen Office of Petition: +0-357-209-1341

Secretary of Fushan Town: +0-357-812-6099

Director of Fushan Town: +0-357-813-6099

Fushan Office of United Front Work: +0-357-812-1142

Fushan Bureau of Pubic Security: +0-357-812-6199

For English-speakers, contact the Chinese Embassy in Washington:

Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong
3505 International Place, NW, Washington, D.C. 20008
Tel: (202) 495-2000
Fax: (202) 588-9760

NOTE: If you are a citizen of another country, please click here to find the contact information of the Chinese embassy in your own nation http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/eng/wjb/zwjg/2490/.

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