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Church's Application for Administrative Reconsideration Accepted by Xinyuan County Government in Xinjiang

Saturday, May 4, 2013

China Aid Association

Image(Xinyuan, Xinjiang–May 4, 2013) An application for "administrative reconsideration" filed by a house church in the far western region of Xinjiang ordered to stop its "illegal religious activities" has been accepted by the local Xinyuan County government, ChinaAid has learned.

The church in Akeqi village in the town of Biesituobie was raided on March 10, a Sunday, by the county religious affairs and public security bureaus, who sealed the meeting site, confiscated a large quantity of church property and took three Christians into custody (they were released the same day). Later the same day, the Committee for Ethnic and Religious Affairs issued a "Notification of Order for Corrective Action" telling the church to stop its "illegal religious activities."

The church hired a lawyer and applied for an administrative reconsideration of the order. On April 22, the church received a written notice from the Xinyuan County People’s Government that it had accepted the case.

The previous reports on the case are here:

http://www.chinaaid.org/2013/04/the-persecuted-church-in-xinyuan-county.html

http://www.chinaaid.org/2013/03/news-flash-house-church-in-yili.html

Below is a translation of the entire application for administrative reconsideration submitted by Li Ruiming and Dai Shuju on behalf of the church.


Application for Administrative Reconsideration

Applicant:

Li Ruiming, female, Han ethnicity, junior high school education, DOB December 2, 1963, ID card number 65242519631202102X, residential address is: 18, Lane 4, Akeqi Village, Biesituobie Town, Xinyuan County, Xinjiang. She is a villager of the village.

Tel:

Applicant:

Dai Shuju, female, Han ethnicity, of elementary school education, DOB March 3, 1969, ID card number 654125196903031022, self-employed, currently residing at 194, Lane 1, Akeqi Village, Biesituobie Town, Xinyuan County, Xinjiang. She is a villager of the village.

Tel:

Respondent: Committee for Ethnic and Religious Affairs of Xinyuan County

Legal representative: Yimamu·Yimingjiang; Position: director

Residential address: Government Compound of Xinyuan County.

Tel: 18997585345

Reconsideration request:

1. Confirm in accordance with the law that the administrative action of the respondent in carrying out the document coded Min Zong (2013) Ze Gai Tong violated the law and the legitimate rights of the applicants;

2. Repeal in accordance with the law the corresponding administrative decision of the respondent;

Facts and reasons:

At about 11 a.m. on March 10, 2013 (Sunday), as the applicants were worshipping in a room in our village, Lin Huaiyi from the Bureau for Ethnic and Religious Affairs led more than 20 unidentified people and charged into the room. Except for Lin Huaiyi who showed his identification papers, none of the others identified themselves. Breaking into a residential residence without showing any law enforcement papers and without saying anything, they took photos and videos and started to disperse the people. If anyone said anything, they yelled No matter who talked, they would shout harshly: “Shut up!” They immediately shut the door and, without showing any search warrant, they seized a large quantity of items. Then a vehicle came and they began load the church belongings onto the vehicle.

When applicant Li Ruiming went up to them and tried to stop them, she was seized by two people who looked like police officers and dragged in their vehicle. When Wang Zhengying and applicant Dai Shuju went up to them and tried to stop them from taking away their fellow Christian, they were also taken to Biesituobie Town Police Station where their oral confessions were recorded, photos of them were taken from all angles. They were fingerprinted, blood was drawn for blood tests, and they were told to write a statement of guarantee, pledging that they would never attend a [religious] meeting, except in their own homes and with their own family members, and without friends and neighbors.

When they refused to do so, all three were locked up in a guardhouse for over four hours, from about 5 p.m. to after 9 p.m. They were ordered to sell the house where the church was meeting and if they don’t sell it, the authorities will bulldoze it. They were also told that a gathering of even two or three people is an illegal assembly. One of the officials even threatened them: Don’t you want to do business with the government? Do your sons and daughters want to attend college? On that day, they seized and took away two stoves, 20 stove chimneys, 10 waist drums, 10 hand drums, 16 fans, 24 bundles of flowers, 10 silk sashes, 20 wreaths, 10 long benches, a table, two microphones and receivers, copper ca, carpet, mattress, three Bibles, one embroidered cross. No list of confiscated items was given to the owners as required by law.

On the same day, the respondent issued the “Notification of Order for Corrective Action” in the name of Min Zong (2013) Ze Gai Tong No. 2. Because the Chinese characters [for the names] are very complicated, the respondent miswrote the applicant Li Ruiming’s name as Li Ruimin and again miswrote Dai Shuju as Dai Shujun and with wrong Chinese characters. They threatened the applicants, telling them that they could not engage in religious activities and if they had objections, they could apply for an administrative reconsideration or file an administrative lawsuit.

The applicants believe that the respondent’s action violated the religious freedom of the applicants and disrupted the otherwise normal life of the applicants and is therefore an administrative action that violates the law for the following reasons:

1. The respondent violated legal procedures.

(1) The law enforcement officers of the respondent failed to show their law enforcement identification papers as required by law. The above action of Lin Huaiyi, the person handling the case for the respondent, was actually the enforcement measure taken against the applicants on behalf of the government administrative organ in charge of religious affairs. Clauses 2 and 3 of Article 18 of the Administrative Enforcement Law state that when implementing an administrative enforcement measure, it should be implemented by at least two administrative law enforcement officers who should show their law enforcement identification papers; however, on that day, only Lin Huaiyi showed his employment certificate and there is no evidence that the other people there were employees of the state. So, fewer than two law enforcement officers showed their identification papers, hence, this action was not in accordance with the law.

(2) When implementing the administrative enforcement measures, they failed to inform the applicants at the scene of their legal rights and channels to seek redress. Clause 5 of Article 18 of the Administrative Enforcement Law states that “when an administrative organ implements the Administrative Enforcement law, it should notify the party at the scene of the reasons and basis of the administrative enforcement measure and the rights the party enjoys under the law and the channels to seek redress.” However, on March 10, 2013, the law enforcement officers of the respondent did not in any way fulfill the obligation of notifying the party of their rights. When the applicants demanded the respondent state the reasons and basis for their actions, the respondent told the applicants to shut up.

(3) The respondent’s law enforcement officers did not listen to the applicants’ defense and statements as required by law. Clause 6 of Article 18 of the Administrative Enforcement Law states that the administrative organ should “listen to the party’s statements and defense” when carrying out the enforcement measure. On March 10, 2013, the respondent did not allow the applicants to say anything, and decided to carry out the enforcement measures on the applicants without listening to the applicants’ defense or statements.

(4) The law enforcement officers failed to hand over to the applicants the list of seized items as required by law. Article 24 of the Administrative Enforcement Law states that when an administrative organ decides to seize or impound, it shall produce "an inventory of seized or impounded items in duplicate, to be kept respectively by the party concerned and the administrative organ.” However, the respondent seized and took away a large quantity of items belonging to the applicants without giving an inventory list of seized or impounded items to the applicants.

The foregoing is not a comprehensive account of all the actions of the respondent that violated procedure, but from just the actions pointed out above, it is sufficient to show that procedurally the respondent seriously violated the law and that its administrative enforcement actions were illegal. China is a country of the rule of law, and [government] administration according to the law is core to the building of a country under the rule of law, and the illegal [government] administration must be strictly prohibited.

2. The respondent’s decision to ban the church is without legal basis.

The applicants believe that the actions of the respondent violated the principle and the spirit of “freedom of religious belief” proclaimed in Article 36 of China's Constitution, and is is illegal and invalid. Article 36 of the Chinese Constitution 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.” So long as the citizen's outward behavior action does not violate the prohibitive provisions of the law (of course, prohibitive provisions in the law must be in line with the principle and the spirit of the relevant constitution clauses to be legal and valid; otherwise, they are unconstitutional and invalid), then law enforcement cannot restrict or interfere with the freedom of religion of said citizen for any reason; otherwise, the action of the law enforcement organ constitutes a violation of the law.

Second, freedom of religious faith also means that no state organ, social group or citizen has the right to interfere with a citizen's freedom of religious belief. Article 3 of the White Paper on Freedom of Religious Belief in China released on October 16, 1997 by Information Office of the State Council of China stipulates that "all normal religious activities held either at sites for religious activities or in believers´ own homes in accordance with usual religious practices, such as worshipping Buddha, reciting scriptures, going to church, praying, preaching, observing Mass, baptizing ... are protected by law as the affairs of religious bodies and believers themselves and may not be interfered with....

There is no registration requirement for, to quote from Chinese Christians, 'house services,' which are mainly attended by relatives and friends for religious activities such as praying and Bible reading."

3. The respondent erred in applying the law.

The respondent cited Article 43 of the “Regulations on Religious Affairs” as the basis for his decision to ban [the meeting site], but the first sentence of this article refers to " a site for religious activity [that] is established without approval..." However, the actions of the applicants do not constitute “a site for religious activities [that] is established without approval” because conducting religious activities in one’s own home without registration does not constitute establishing a site for religious activities without approval. Article 3 of the White Paper on Freedom of Religious Belief in China released on October 16, 1997 by Information Office of the State Council of China stipulates that: " There is no registration requirement for, to quote from Chinese Christians, 'house services,' which are mainly attended by relatives and friends for religious activities such as praying and Bible reading." The State Council Information Office has already promised to the international community on behalf of the central government of China that such activities do not need to be registered, so wouldn't going to the authorities to register be redundant? With regard to the international community, the Chinese government has always lived up to its word, faithfully kept its promises and has never told lies to the international community. If the respondent does not have a basis in accusing the Chinese government of telling lies and does not dare to accuse the Chinese government of telling lies, then it doesn’t have a reason or a basis in criticizing the applicants’ action or claim that the applicants established a site for religious activities without approval. Given this, it doesn’t have the right to threaten based on this clause to prohibit the applicants to hold religious activities in their own homes. Therefore, when the respondent cited this clause as the basis for his administrative action, it was an erroneous application of the law.

4. The respondent violated the freedom of religious belief of the applicants and socialist principles.

Article 39 of the “Regulations on Religious Affairs” states that citizens are not compelled to believe in any religion. One of the principles of socialism is not to implicate the innocent or to implicate or threaten to implicate the associates of a criminal. But among those who accompanied the respondent, someone threatened the applicants saying, “Do you still want to do business with the government? Do your sons and daughters want to enter college?”--as a way to stop the applicants from believing in Christianity. This practice of implicating the innocent and making relatives suffer for what other people have done is the practice of feudal despots and is an obvious violation of socialist principles and national law and is also a violation of the applicants’ religious freedom.

To sum up the above, the administrative enforcement measures taken by the respondent against the applicants violated legal procedures as stipulated in the Administrative Enforcement Law and also violated Article 36 of the Chinese Constitution, the highest law in the land, and is therefore illegal. Pursuant to Articles 2 and 12 of the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Administrative Reconsideration, the applicants hereby submit in accordance with the law this application to the Xinyuan County People’s Government, requesting that the Xinyuan County People’s Government confirm in accordance with the law that the respondent's administrative enforcement actions directed at the applicants violated the law and repeal it.

To:

Xinyuan County People’s Government

Applicants: Li Ruiming and Dai Shuju

Date of application: , 2013

Appendix:

1. One copy of this application for administrative reconsideration.

2. One copy of “Notification of Order for Corrective Action” coded Min Zong (2013) Ze Gai Tong No. 2

3. One copy of each of the applicants ID cards.

 



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