Sichuan authorities raid house church meeting, order woman leader who came five years ago to do earthquake relief to leave in three days

Thursday, March 14, 2013

China Aid Association
(Wudoushan, Sichuan–March 14, 2013) Local police in Sichuan earthquake zone raided a house church meeting and ordered the Christian woman leader who came to help in relief efforts in 2008 to leave in three days, ChinaAid has learned.

An Baozhu, originally from Jiayuguan, Gansu province, was a laid-off worker who came to Sichuan in June 2008 to help with earthquake relief work.  She joined other volunteers in establishing a tent school in Wudoushan, Mianzhu, where Christian volunteers told stories to the many frightened children to calm them down after the earthquake.  Later, when the students returned to school, An stayed to continue to evangelize in the area and established a church.

On March 1, officers from Mianzhu's Hanwang Public Security Bureau suddenly raided a meeting at her home, took An into police custody and interrogated her.  Then they ordered her to leave the area in three days because she had violated the law on religion.

The raid occurred shortly after 3 p.m., when An was teaching about the Bible.  Five or six police officers suddenly showed up and surrounded her. They bombarded her with questions and took photos of her from every side, then they recorded the names, ages, addresses and identification card information of all the other believers there.  When they asked An for her government-issued identification card, she said she had left it at home.

So the officers took An and went with her in two police vehicles to her home, where they took photos of just about everything there.  Standing outside in the residential compound, the ranking police officer, surnamed Tang, asked loudly, "Who was it who rented this place to her?"  He wanted the landlord's phone number, and assigned someone the task of finding it for him.

Then they put An into a police vehicle and brought her to the Hanwang Public Security Bureau where they interrogated her.  Not only was a written record and videotape made of the interrogation, but a government official was also ordered to videotape An for a long time.  After they finished interrogating her, they said she was guilty of violating the law on religion and read aloud the specific clauses that she had broken.  They then ordered An to write a statement of guarantee, which the ranking police officer dictated to her sentence-by-sentence.

Finally, because of the lateness of the hour, they had one policewoman stay behind to put the statement of guarantee away, while the rest took An home in a police vehicle. Back at An's home, the police confiscated some Bibles and other books.  Then the officer surnamed Tang and the ranking officer who had determined that she had violated the law on religion told her that she had three days to leave Mianzhu.  An said that she would find a job locally and did not want to leave Mianzhu, but Tan said she had to go.

ChinaAid will continue to monitor developments in this case and urges the local government to abide by the law and protect this Christian citizen’s right to residence, right to work and the right to preach the Gospel.

China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985