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Xinjiang sees multiple persecution cases in early July; church members detained, American citizen deported

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

China Aid Association

(Xinjiang—July 15, 2014) House church Christians in several parts of China’s far western Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region were persecuted in early July: a house church pastor in Yili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture was detained in Beijing, six church members in Kuerle were detained and questioned for organizing a summer camp for elementary students and an American teacher was deported following the disruption of a gathering in Urumqi.

Pastor Lou Yuanqi, of Yili, traveled to Beijing to visit family around July 7 when authorities in the airport detained him. According to Zhang Shengqi, a Bejing-based family friend, Lou called his family after he was detained. Upon further inquiry, family members learned that the Yili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture Domestic Security Protection Squad and the neighborhood police station had contacted Beijing police, asking them to detain Lou at the airport.

“[Church members] called the local police station, and the police said Pastor Lou had already left,” Zhang said. “At that time, we couldn’t be certain whether Pastor Lou left the police station by himself or whether he was taken away by Xinjiang police.

“Later, I called and got through to a coworker at a church in Xinjiang who said the police station investigated [Lou] the whole night. After [police] were sure that Pastor Lou was not in Beijing to petition the high authorities, they let him leave the airport police station. However, people could still not get through to Pastor Lou on his phone,” Zhang said.

Meanwhile, on July 6, six pastors and church employees of a house church in Kuerle, Bayin’gholin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture were detained and questioned for organizing a summer camp for elementary students.

The six—Dai Jin, Deng Wenjun, Shi Chuanxin, Peng Jun, Tian Yang, Wang Ruyu—were taken into custody for “proselytizing religion to students.”

“The authorities think they were engaging in religious activity. However, it was the parents who convinced the church to hold the students’ summer camp to give the children and education in ethics,” one believer said. “They were not engaging in the so-called religious activities.”

On July 3, plainclothes police in Urumqi broke up what they claimed was an “illegal gathering” of more than 20 worshippers and detained several for questioning. The gathering, as it turns out, was just piano lessons. However, police took several Christians to the police station for questioning and confiscated the musical instruments. An American music teacher, whom the Christians had invited to the gathering, was detained and later deported.

China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Contact
Tel: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
Email: r.ritchie@chinaaid.org
Website: www.chinaaid.org | www.monitorchina.org