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Xinjiang house churches raided

Friday, September 18, 2015

Photo: Church gatherings, like this one
in Henan province, are often raided.
(China Aid Stock Photo)
China Aid
Reported and written in Chinese by Qiao Nong. Translated by Brynne Lawrence. Written in English by Rachel Ritchie.

(Wujiaqu, Xinjiang—Sept. 18, 2015) Members of a house church in China’s far western Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region recently submitted a request for administrative reconsideration to local authorities after officials raided a church gathering and detained Christians in March. Additionally, China Aid learned of another house church in the area that was raided earlier this year.

Trouble began in early March when Tao Wenju and Dai Wanying organized a church gathering for March 2-4 at Dai’s home in Wujiaqu, Xinjiang. By the last day, approximately 90 Christians were gathered at Dai’s home when Wujiaqu police raided the meeting. Several church members were administratively detained for 12 days.

A lawyer representing the church members said that four Christians had served administrative detentions: Tao Wenju, Dai Wanying and Ren Yuxing and his wife.

The local ethnic and religious affairs bureau later called the gathering an “illegal underground religious activity.” [Editor’s Note: Wujiaqu is under the administration of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC), and local officials and organizations fall under the administration of the XPCC rather than that of the regional government.]

Following their release, the Christians filed an administrative reconsideration with the local police, asking the police to repeal their decision to punish the church.

According to a church member, the punishment was repealed because part of the initial decision contained a procedural mistake. “After the punishment was repealed, the police once again issued a decision notice with administrative punishment,” the Christian said. “The punishment in the second statement was basically the same as the first punishment. At first, they made an illegal mistake in their procedure, but now they’ve corrected the procedural mistake.”

After the punishment was reissued, church members said they would file an administrative lawsuit.

China Aid also learned of another case that occurred in May 2015. When more than 20 members of another church in Wujiaqu gathered for a meeting, police raided the meeting, took the Christians back to the police station and strip-searched them.

“It is a rural church and has around 20 members,” a lawyer said. “While they were meeting, they were all brought [to the police station, where] their bodies were searched…. They planned to sue the police, but it [never] amounted to anything.”

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