Sichuan Christian physically, verbally abused, forced to stand in rain, cold

Monday, March 10, 2014

China Aid Association
(Qu County, Sichuan—March 10, 2014) A believer from the Youqing Church, located in China’s southwestern Sichuan province, was stripped of his clothes, bound and forced to endure cold temperatures and rain while being physically and verbally assaulted by local officials on March 1.

Yang, 50, whose first name is currently unknown, was lured to a local government department in Lifu Township, in Qu County, a subdivision of the city of Dazhou. Upon arrival, officials grabbed Yang and stripped his clothes from his body. He was then taken outside, where it began to rain, and bound with a rope. Temperatures that day ranged from a low of 27 degrees Fahrenheit to a high of 54 F.
“They bound him outdoors with a rope where they beat him. The outdoor temperature was very low, and it was raining,” said Pastor Wang “Joshua” Dao, who is familiar with the Youqing Church.

“At first, the kidnapper jeered at him, saying ‘I see you believe in God. How come no one has come to rescue you?’” Mr. Xiong, another believer who asked to only give his surname, said “About five…minutes later, the brother who was bound there began to show signs of a relapse of a disease.”

“The person who first saw [the symptoms] is the head of the village. He was running a business errand in Lifu,” Xiong said. “When he saw it, he told the head of the Lifu government. Therefore, they released him.”

“He was bound there for two hours,” Xiong said. “The people who are in charge…confiscated his Bible.” He also said that, when asked, Yang told fellow Christians at a gathering that officials had taken his Bible during the incident.

Xiong told China Aid that the head of the village asked the leader of the township to “solve the issue” for Yang. In response, the Lifu government offered Yang 1,500 yuan (US$244). Xiong told China Aid that the government also paid Yang a damages fee and issued a public apology.

The person who beat Yang was also given 1,500 yuan (US$244); the reason behind this particular compensation is unknown.

Youqing Church’s history of persecution
“Their house church in Qu County has several dozen gathering sites and has a congregation of about two thousand people,” Wang said. “Since 2008, it has often been suppressed by the government officials for being a ‘cult.’”

“In 2008, they came to arrest us. Since then, such incidents happen every year, but no one has been sent to labor camps,” Xiong said. “However, in July of last year (2013), a brother and two sisters…were detained.”

Additionally, China Aid reported in 2010 that on Sept. 26, 2010, Youqing Church was raided by the officers from the local police station.

During the raid, church property was destroyed, books were confiscated and people were taken back to the police station. Families were forced to pay fines to get their loved ones out of detention.

Three days later, when a group of Christians visited the police station to try and get the church’s confiscated property back, five believers were taken into custody and placed under administrative detention.

In March 2011, Youqing Church’s pastor, Liao Zhongxiu, was placed under criminal detention on suspicions of “using a cult organization to undermine the implementation of state law.” Believers in the church hired lawyers, who fought for Liao’s release.

Since that time, the local government has increased its persecution in retaliation.

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