Guangdong churches raided, 6 believers detained

Monday, September 29, 2014

Believers in Foshan protest the criminal
detention of their fellow Fangzhou Church
members. (Photo courtesy of Fangzhou
China Aid Association

(Guangzhou, Guangdong—Sept. 29, 2014) Last week, approximately eight churches in Guangzhou, the provincial capital of China’s southern Guangdong, and Foshan were raided, resulting in the apprehension of a number of believers, some of whom were sentenced to administrative detention and later criminal detention.

Among the persecuted churches are Liangren Church, Wenxin Church, Yabolan Church, Five-Ram Church and an unnamed house church in Panyu District, all of Guangzhou. Persecuted churches from Foshan include Fangzhou Church, Olive Tree Church and Foshan House Church, a branch of Olive Tree Church.

On Sept. 21, as believers gathered for worship, five of the churches— Fangzhou Church, Foshan House Church, Olive Tree Church, Liangren Church and an unnamed church in the Panyu District of Guangzhou—were raided by special police and officials from the religious affairs bureau who claimed the gatherings weren’t approved and were, therefore, illegal.

“We had Sunday worship at Fangzhou Church,” a believer said. “As soon as we finished the worship, a brother [in Christ] delivered a sermon at the pulpit. Less than five minutes after he started, police officers broke in. There were about 30-40 officers, and there were about 60-70 believers at the gathering. After the police came in, they rudely stopped our gathering and dragged that brother from the pulpit.

“After they placed the site under their control, they began to take our church members away… The police hauled the brothers and sisters to the nearby police station and took turns interrogating them. Elderly people and pregnant women were not taken away,” the worshipper said. A more recent estimate from Fangzhou Church places the number of impacted believers closer to 100.

“Today, they had a joint operations led by Foshan Municipal Public Security Bureau,” another Christian said. “There were police officers as well as the employees of the religious affairs bureau at the scene. There were also special police officers. Altogether, there were about 40-50 people… There were also many police interns—they were not auxiliary or assistant police. They were formal employees; [I know] because I saw the serial numbers on their badges.”

Christians said that police demanded that church members sign a “statement of education on the legal system,” as seen below, admit that they had engaged in an illegal gathering, and promise to never violate the law again before police would release them. At least six church members from Fangzhou Church and Olive Tree Church, which is the home church of Jiang Junjie who was delivering the sermon at Fangzhou Church, were placed under a three-day administrative detention for refusing to comply. Wang Dao, a former pastor of Guangzhou’s Liangren Church, which was also raided on Sept. 21, said on Thursday that those six detainees have since been placed under criminal detention (see detention notice below) and that all the raided churches have been sealed.

Fangzhou Church members said that the church has received warnings in the past and that they are continuously under pressure from the government. “This is because the leading co-workers once worked in a government department and has some connections with the government… It is not very convenient. After all, he is a devout Christian and seldom contacts the government,” a believer said.

When China Aid contacted the Foshan Municipal Religious Affairs Bureau to ask about the incident at Fangzhou Church, the official we spoke to largely denied having any knowledge of the raids. When the official did acknowledge the situation, he said “As the operation was not launched by our section, we don’t know about it.”

Also on Sept. 21, a church in Panyu District, Guangzhou was raided. “They had gatherings of dozens of people, and dozens of police officers went there and dispersed the gathering,” a Guangzhou-based pastor told China Aid on Sept. 21. “The leader of the church is Gao Feng, and the name on his ID is Zhou Zhongxin.”

Church raids continued throughout the week as Yabolan Church and Five-Ram Church in Guangzhou were raided. Later, on Thursday, Sept. 25, Wenxin Church of Baiyun District, Guangzhou, was raided by police. Wang Dao said that Wenxin Church is often raided, according to the church’s pastor, Ma Yiming, with whom Wang regularly keeps in touch.

“In Guangzhou and Foshan, there are many co-workers with whom we often prayed,” Wang, who currently lives in the United States, said. “Recently, they have all been jailed. Among them are Elder Huang Quirui of Linagren Church, Sister Tan Xuihong and others from Foshan. Now they have been placed under criminal detention on suspicion of being a cult member.”

Another Guangzhou church reported that police have been trying to obtain certain information from the pastor. “The other day, the police called me and wanted me to file our information with them, saying they wanted to learn about the church,” Ma Ke, the pastor Guangfu Church, said. “They asked me how many people usually go for the gatherings, when they come for the gatherings, and I told them everything.”

“I don’t think this is a local issue,” Ma said, “but a national issue. In the past, we used to think that the [government] was demolishing crosses only in the Wenzhou, [Zhejiang], area. Since the McDonald’s incident in Zhaoyuan, Shandong, [in which members of the Church of the Almighty God, which the government has deemed a cult, attacked and killed a woman who refused to give the group her phone number for recruitment], China has issued a report that they are 14 cults. However, in attacking these cults, the police in many locations can’t tell the difference between religion and cult. As long as it’s not a Three-Self Patriotic Movement church, they all clamp down on the churches.”

Statement of Education on Legal System

Person receiving the education: Chen Ping; Gender: female

ID No. 511102197012130488

Household registration filed at: Room 704, Building 27, Fuhao Garden, Guicheng, Nanhai District, Foshan, Guangdong province.

At about 9 o’clock on the morning of September 21, 2014, you, together with other people, violated the state stipulation by engaging in an activity in the name of a social organization without registration at No.6, North Lane 16, East Ernanyue, Guicheng, Nanhai District. Your action violates the stipulation as set forth in Clause 1, Article 54 of the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Public Security Administration Punishments. You disrupted the public order. Given the circumstances of your violation, we hereby unequivocally point out your fault and give you education. Should you again violate the stipulation, the Public Security agency will handle your case in accordance with law.

Notice of Detention

Nanhai Branch of Foshan Municipal Public Security Bureau

Fo Gong Nan Ju Tong Zi [2014] No. 09575

Liang Mingzhen,

Pursuant to Article 80 of the Criminal Procedure Law of the People's Republic of China, this Bureau placed Ji Duqiang under criminal detention at 10 p.m. on September 21, 2014, on suspicion of utilizing superstitious organization and superstition to undermine the implementation of law. Currently, he is being detained by Nanhai District Detention Center of Foshan Municipality.

Nanhai Branch of Foshan Municipal Public Security Bureau
Seal: Nanhai Branch of Foshan Municipal Public Security Bureau
Date: (illegible)

Address of the detention center: Zhaoda, Shishan, Nanhai District, Foshan, Guangdong

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