Five Christians await prosecution, authorities revoke rights to legal representation

Friday, January 29, 2016

Officials detain members of Daguan
House Church.
(Photo: China Aid)
China Aid
Reported in Chinese by Qiao Nong. Translated by Carolyn Song. Written in English by Brynne Lawrence.

(Daguan, Guizhou—Jan. 29, 2016) A public security bureau (PSB) in China’s southern Guizhou province recently transferred the cases of five Christians to the local Procuratorate for prosecution after receiving orders in late November to investigate the incident further.

Eight members of Daguan House Church were criminally detained earlier last year for “meeting illegally, organizing cult activities and violating Article 300 of the Criminal Code.” Eventually, three of them were released on bail, and, on Sept.1, authorities formalized the arrests of the five others—Dai Xiaoqiang, Xu Guoqing, Kang Chengju, Tang Huanggui and Huang Huaxin—on the charge of “using a cult organization to undermine law enforcement.”

The church unsuccessfully appealed to the PSB to repeal the punishment.

After the PSB sent the cases to the Procuratorate, the authorities ruled that the evidence was insufficient and ordered that the bureau investigate the situation further. China Aid learned on Jan. 25 that the cases have been re-submitted, and the Christians now await prosecution.

Despite the imminent release of their verdicts, the government has not permitted the defendants to hire lawyers. When Huoshi Church pastor Yang Hua, who followed this case closely, went to the PSB on May 29 with Li Guisheng, a lawyer, and requested to meet with the incarcerated, the officials rejected their request, and men wielding knives followed Yang and Li into town. In another incident, Yang led renowned human rights lawyer Zhang Kai and eight other people to the Qianxi County Public Security Bureau and the detention center on June 18, but about 100 unidentified men confronted them and smashed their vehicles.

Persecution of Daguan House Church began on May 24, 2015, when dozens of officials disrupted a weekly service and apprehended 30 church members. Most were later freed, but 12 remained in criminal detention for several months for illegally gathering.

On June 7, officials returned to the church and took more parishioners into custody.

Additionally, Christians reported that anti-riot police raided the church twice since the June 7 arrests and that officials closely monitor the relatives of the incarcerated. Due to this, the church no longer holds services, and church attendees are afraid to hire lawyers or have contact with reporters. Anonymous Christians claimed that, if reporter contacted them, they would be arrested.

China Aid exposes religious freedom abuses, such as those experienced by the members of Daguan House Church, in order to promote religious freedom and rule of law in China.

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