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Xinjiang Christians sue authorities after detention for singing hymns

Monday, May 18, 2015

Targeting gatherings in homes is common, as in the case of
church member pictured above, who were detained in Beijing
when trying to visit a sick Christian. (Photo: China Aid)
China Aid
By Rachel Ritchie

(Asku, Xinjiang–May 18, 2015) Two Christians in the far western Chinese Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region are awaiting the verdict of an April lawsuit against the Asku Reclamation Area Public Security Bureau after they were detained for signing hymns in a private home.

“These two Christians sang a song at home,” said a lawyer named Xing, who is representing one of the Christians seeking to repeal the administrative penalty. “Before they could finish singing, people from the local police station broke in and took them away. Ren Demei was detained for five days, and Zhao Qi was detained for seven days. Zhao Qi led the singing, and Ren Demei is the owner of the house.”

“On Jan. 12, Ren Demei invited Zhang Yang and Zhao Qi to come to her residence … to engage in religious activity in the name of sharing and exchanging information and studying Christianity,” stated a detention notice from the Asku Reclamation Area Public Security Bureau on Jan. 16. “On Jan. 14, Ren Demei invited many people to her residence, and Zhao Qi led them again in engaging in illegal religious activities in the form of singing Christian hymns and disturbed public order.”

The official charge is “engaging in illegal religious activity to disturb public order.”

Lawyer Zhang Kai, also hired by the Christians, told China Aid that authorities stated the Christians didn’t have the qualifications to teach or preach and that they were detained because they sang songs at an unregistered site.

“Peng Liyuan, the First Lady of China, once sang Hallelujah in a public place,” Xing said. “Can we say she violated the law? We submitted the video of Peng Liyuan singing Hallelujah to the court.”

The lawsuit against the public security bureau began on April 20. Xing said that he and other lawyers argued that authorities had forged evidence. “According to the written account made at the scene, the authorities received the tip on the case at 11:44 a.m., Jan. 14, but the time recorded for when the account was written was 11:25 a.m., Jan. 14. The police wrote the record before they got the tip.

“Besides this, in the written record from the interrogations, the two interrogators are named Lu and Chen. Yet the signatures at the end of the record are Lu and Ye. This is inconsistent; it is obvious they forged the document and didn’t have any evidence,” Xing said.

China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
Email: r.ritchie@chinaaid.org
Website: www.chinaaid.org