Eight house church Christians from Daguan, Guizhou province, under criminal detention for holding 'illegal' worship services

Thursday, July 9, 2015

China Aid

(Daguan, Guizhou—July 9, 2015) In the continuing government persecution against a house church in southwest China’s Guizhou province, eight members of the Daguan House Church have been put under criminal detention for holding “illegal” worship services.

To create further hardship for the Christians, the local police are holding the eight in detention centers in three different counties, according to China Aid’s special correspondent in Hong Kong, Qiao Nong. Criminal detention sentences, which are imposed extra-judicially by the police, are usually the first step to criminal prosecution.

A church member covertly captured this image
while police searched Daguan Church on
May 24, 2015.
(Photo: China Aid)
Pastor Yang Hua, who has been closely following the Daguan House Church case, said of the three different detention locations, “I expect it is to create problems for the lawyers. When it comes time for you to meet [with your clients], it’s inconvenient, [because you] have to run here and there. Putting them in detention centers in different counties is to make things difficult for you.”

Pastor Yang, who is based in the provincial capital of Guiyang, had not been able to reach any of the detainees by phone as of June 29. The detainees also had not been allowed to meet with family members nor to hire legal representation.

The three being held in Zhijin County are Xu Guoqing, Kang Chengju, and Kang Chenglin. The three being held in Qianxi County are Dai Xiaoqiang, Zhou Xunmin, and Huang Huaxin. And Xu Junfen and Tang Honggui are being held in Dafang County.

The charge for their criminal detention is “meeting illegally, organizing cult activities and violating Article 300 of the Criminal Code.”

Beijing-based human rights lawyer Zhang Kai, who had already been hired to represent the Daguan Church, said he was unable to get any updated information about the detainees because he could not get hold of any family members.

On June 18, when Pastor Yang, Zhang and seven other people tried to meet with a different group of Daguan Christians who were being held under administrative detention, they were besieged a crowd of more than 100 people, believed to have been mobilized by a special police unit.

Fearing for their lives, they were forced to abandon their vehicle. Pastor Yang said that the traffic police took his driver’s license, and as of June 29, it still had not been returned. Furthermore, he has been tailed whenever he leaves his home, causing him grave concern over the situation with the Daguan Church.

Persecution of the Daguan Church began with a May 24 raid on the church’s Sunday worship service. Authorities ordered the church to stop meeting and took about 30 people into custody. Most were released, but 12 were administratively detained following that raid.

On May 29, when Pastor Yang, lawyer Li Guisheng and two others went to the Qianxi County Public Security Bureau and detention center trying unsuccessfully to meet with the detainees, they were threatened by more than 10 unidentified knife-wielding men who followed them all the way from the county seat to the town of Daguan.

Xu Guoyan was released on June 24 at the end of her sentence and she returned to Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. Xu Guoying, Xu Guoqiong, and Xu Guoyan have also been released from administrative detention. Xu Guoying and Xu Guoqiong were both detained twice for a total of 25 days. Xu Guoyan, Wang Yanggui, Fu Hanguo, Shi Taiqun, Wei Qing were each held for periods ranging from seven to 15 days.

When the church held a Sunday worship service on June 7 in a church member’s private home, local Domestic Security Protection agents climbed over a wall to set up surveillance of the meeting.

Daguan Church was founded 13 years ago and has more than 300 members, with about 80 Christians attending its Sunday worship services.

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Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
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