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Salvation Church lawyers submit opinion statement on injured Christians' behalf

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

China Aid Association


(Wenzhou, Zhejiang—Aug. 19, 2014) Fourteen lawyers representing Christians injured in Wenzhou authorities July 21 attempt to demolish Salvation Church’s cross presented the Pingyang County Public Security Bureau and the Pingyang County Procuratorate with their official opinion statement on Friday.

Authorities were successful in their efforts to demolish the coastal Zhejiang province’s church’s cross on Thursday. Officials had attempted to forcibly demolish the cross twice before in July. The second attempt resulted in a bloody altercation, which left approximately 100 injured. Fourteen of those injured Christians required medical attention.


The lawyers’ statement, translated by China Aid, is below.


Pingyang County Public Security Bureau:

Pingyang County Procuratorate:

We, 14 lawyers, authorized by the victims of the Pingyang Religious Case, Zhang Zhimin, Zhao Hongjin, Li Qianbo, Wu Quanquan, Huang Heming, Xie Zuozhong and Wen Zhixiang, hereby present our lawyers’ opinion statement to the Pingyang County Public Security Bureau on the vicious, criminal Pingyang Religious Case, in which several hundred thugs demolished the cross of the Christian Salvation Church of Pingyang and brutally beat the Christians.

According to the people who have authorized us and according to our investigation, we have learned the following facts:

Late at night on July 21, 2014, more than 600 uniformed and well-trained thugs wearing helmets and wielding police equipment, gathered in front of the Salvation Church in Shuitou town, Pingyang County, [Wenzhou]. At the scene, there were several dozens of vehicles, including fire engines, ambulances, police vehicles, and busses. In the early morning, several hundred thugs, wielding batons, frantically beat the Christians guarding Salvation Church. Dozens of people, including those people who have authorized us in this matter, were beaten and injured. When this case of violence happened, numerous Christians called police at 110 for help. However, the local police didn’t send out police officers and simply let this case of violence continue.

On August 14, 2014, the cross of Salvation Church was demolished.

After this case of violence occurred, some of the victims authorized the lawyers, in accordance with law, to sue the perpetrators and appeal for them. We went to Pingyang County Public Security Bureau on August 14, 2014 to negotiate with [the police]. The police’s reply: this case is an act of the government, and the police from the Public Security Bureau did not participate in this case. As for who was the organizer, the executor, etc., the public security agency will conduct an impartial investigation in accordance with law and handle this case in a just and legal manner.

As evidence, there are photos and videos of the scene, in which several hundred thugs attack.

Regarding the Pingyang Religious Case violence, we think:

1. Chinese citizens enjoy the freedom of religion, and the state protects the normal religious activities. These are the basic principles of the Constitution of our country. Religious sites and properties are protected under the law. In the meantime, this is also the bottom-line of civilization recognized by all civilized countries.

2. The actions in Pingyang County, Wenzhou, in the greater Wenzhou area, and throughout Zhejiang province to demolish churches’ crosses and to persecute Christians are a subversion of the religious freedom unequivocally stated in the Constitution. These actions are also a continuation of historical religious persecution against Christianity and its followers. Without exception, such a violent act will be proven by history as a crime and the Christian belief will not be restricted by this.

3. The violent ongoing action of demolishing Christian churches and persecuting Christians in the Wenzhou area and in other parts of Zhejiang province has aroused the strong concerns from people both in China and abroad, resulting in adverse effects. Facts have proven that religious faith is conducive to the maintenance of social stability, purification of social atmosphere, and enhancement of moral standards of the public. On the contrary, persecution of religion is one of the causes of social instability.

4. The Pingyang Religious Case, in which several hundred thugs gathered and beat Christians and injured dozens of people, is a serious case of violence. This is no longer a simple case of intentional injury. Instead, this is a crime of disrupting public order, intentional damage of public and private properties, and destruction of a public site. Besides, the relevant persons in charge in the government illegally used special vehicles and what we suspect to be police equipment, and they illegally demolished the crosses of the churches. Obviously, this constitutes the crime of abuse of power. The Pingyang County Public Security Bureau and Pingyang County Procuratorate should file a case in accordance with law and conduct an investigation of the criminal liability of the perpetrators.

Given the above facts and understanding, we, the 14 lawyers, demand the following:

1. File a case and conduct investigations on the vicious and violent incident of demolishing the cross of Salvation Church in Pingyang County, beating the Christian worshippers and willfully smashing and destroying public and private properties.

2. File a case and conduct investigations on the behind-the-scene government persons in charge from the Pingyang County Government, and even the Wenzhou Municipal Government, who truly organized the several hundred thugs and investigate their liabilities in abusing their power.

3. Protect the rights of Christians in Pingyang County to religious freedom and to religious sites and properties.

Recently, the country’s president, Xi Jinping, has repeatedly said “We should make our best efforts to let common people feel fairness and justice in every judicial case.” We think this is not empty talk or a lie. We also think the Chinese law also applies to the Wenzhou area and Zhejiang province. Based on this promise from President Xi Jinping and legal stipulations, we, the lawyers, hereby present our “Lawyers’ Opinion Statement” to the Pingyang County Public Security Bureau and the Pingyang County Procuratorate. Please file the case in accordance with law.

Attorneys:

Zhang Junjie, a lawyer from Yingxie Law Firm of Henan province

Hu Guiyun, a lawyer from Xincheng Law Firm of Beijing

Zheng Xiang, a lawyer from Rongxin Law Firm of Shandong province

Qiang Li, a lawyer from Facong Law Firm of Sichuan province

Wang Xueming, a lawyer from Hualu Law Firm of Shandong province

Liu Lianhe, a lawyer from Yaze Law Firm of Tianjin Municipality

Xu Zhong, a lawyer of Runpu Law Firm of Shandong province

Wang Yu, a lawyer of Fengrui Law Firm of Beijing

Ge Yongxi, a lawyer of Anguo Law Firm of Guangdong province

Lin Qilei, a lawyer from Ruikai Law Firm of Beijing

Li Chunfu, a lawyer from Lanpeng Law Firm of Beijing

Wang Hongjie, a lawyer from Jinqi Law Firm of Guangdong province

Zhang Keke, a lawyer from Penglai Law Firm of Hubei province

Xu Hongwei, a lawyer from Kangqiao Law Firm of Shandong province


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