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Christians take legal action against unlawful persecution in China

Friday, February 19, 2016

Translations for documents not
included in this article are
available upon request.
China Aid
Translated by Carolyn Song and Brynne Lawrence. Written and edited in English by Ava Collins.

(Beijing—Feb. 19, 2016) A Beijing-based law firm reported taking the cases of various groups and individuals throughout China, in which they will contest fines, house church closures, detentions, and the confiscation of personal items.

Lawyers Li Baiguang and Liu Peifu of Beijing’s Gongxin Law Firm will represent cases from three events filing for administrative reconsideration on decisions and punishments issued by local and provincial governments across China. The plaintiffs each claim that authorities handled their cases unlawfully or without due process.

In the first case, public security bureau officers in Qiqihar, the second largest city in China’s northeastern Heilongjiang province, placed Shen Fuchu, a pastor from Shanghai, in administrative custody from Sept. 10–20 while he visiting a house church. Shen, along with four others—Han Xuexi, Zhou Duanzheng, Wang Huailin, Zhang Lianxiang, and Niu Guizhen—had gathered in Niu’s home with more than 70 people. Shen, Wang and Zhou applied for legal representation by Li and Liu Peifu.

Authorities confiscated 70,000 Yuan (U.S. $10,700) that had been given to Shen and Niu to help cover travel costs and claimed that because Shen was not a pastor at a church registered with the government, his title as pastor and ordinations were false. In addition to the 10 days of administrative custody Shen served, he was fined 500 Yuan (U.S. $70) and had various personal belongings confiscated.

For another case in Guiyang, the capital of China’s inland Guizhou province, Zhang Jun contested a ban issued by the Yunyan District Religious Affairs Bureau, which closed a house church’s meeting place and claimed that the venue was unauthorized for religious activities.

In the final case, also in Guiyang, Christian Chen Wu filed a suit against the Guanshanhu District Religious Affairs Bureau for the closure of an allegedly unauthorized religious venue.

Li and Liu Peifu, the lawyers representing the cases for Shen and the others in Qiqihar, Zhang and Chen, are also known for representing the cases of Su Tianfu of Huoshi Church and Liu Peng, the detained legal assistant of prominent human rights lawyer Zhang Kai. Li also represented detained church elder Hu Shigen.

Shen and Zhang Jun’s applications for administrative lawsuits, Shen’s administrative punishment verdict, the ban notice for Chen’s building, and the lawyers’ commission to represent Zhou document can be found translated below.

Translations of documents not included in this article, but available upon request, include:

• Applications for administrative lawsuits: Chen Wu, Wang Huailin and Zhou Duanzheng
• Lawyers' commissions: Chen Wu, Shen Fuchu
• Administrative punishment verdict: Zhou Duanzheng
• Ban notice: Zhang Jun

China Aid supports the legal defense of cases of religious persecution or human rights abuse such as these. If you would like to show your support, please consider making a donation to the legal defense fund.


Application for Administrative Lawsuit

The plaintiff:
Shen Fuchu; male, 73 years old, born: Oct. 12, 1943; Citizen ID 330425194310120838; from Shanghai. Current residential address: Apartment 1003, Guang Village 106, Yangpu District, Shanghai. Contact: 13918672732

The defendant:
Meilisi Branch of the Qiqihar Municipal Public Security Bureau
Legal representative: Director Xiu Yang
Address: Intersection of Huafeng Road and Xingmei Street

Reason for filing the case: Not satisfied with the administrative punishment

Requirement for this suit:
1. Revoke the Administrative Punishment Verdict from the Qi-Mei-Police Decision No. (2015) 192 made on Sep. 10, 2015.
2. Defendant returns 1,800 Yuan (U.S. $276) and a Samsung mobile phone, other daily use items, and 72 robes, all of which were illegally confiscated by the defendant.
3. Defendant pays back 33,000 Yuan (U.S. $5,060), which was illegally confiscated.
4. All litigation cost will be paid by the defendant.

Facts and reasoning:
The plaintiff has been a Christian for dozens of years. From Sept. 9-10, 2015, the plaintiff was meeting with Han Xuexi, Zhou Duanzheng, Wang Huailin and other Christians at Niu Guizhen’s home. On Sep. 10, the defendant and police entered Niu Guzhen’s home by force without showing any ID or legal documents, searched and confiscated 1,800 Yuan, a Samsung mobile phone and other daily use items without providing the list of confiscated items. On the same day, the defendant issued the Administrative Punishment Verdict from the Qi-Mei-Police Decision No. (2015) 192, put the plaintiff in custody for ten days, fined the plaintiff 500 Yuan, and recovered 33,000 Yuan of allegedly illegal income. The plaintiff believes:

1. The defendant’s law enforcement process is illegal
Throughout the entire law enforcement process, neither the defendant nor the police wore uniforms. They did not show ID or a search warrant and did not provide the list of confiscated items. They did not recognize the plaintiff’s right to plea [on his own behalf]. During the investigation, there were various situations that violated the plaintiff’s rights, such as yelling at the plaintiff, threatening the plaintiff and not letting the plaintiff rest, eat or drink. Therefore, when the defendant carried out this enforcement of the law, the procedure was illegal.

2. The facts are not clear in the Administrative Punishment Verdict, and the laws cited are wrong
The plaintiff is called pastor, which is the common title for a long term and gospel-preaching Christian. The plaintiff did not behave in such a way as to pass himself off as a pastor. There are no facts supporting the defendant’s regard of the plaintiff as a false pastor. The plaintiff had travelled a long distance, and in exchange, the church members volunteered to cover some of the travel cost, as is reasonable and also a common practice in house churches. The defendant regarded the plaintiff as a charlatan based on unclear facts, and [the conclusion is] qualitatively false. The defendant made an administrative punishment applying for Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Administration of Public Security Article 51, Paragraph 1 and Article 11, Paragraph 2, which was an incorrect application of these laws.

3. The religious activities of the plaintiff and other Christians didn’t violate any laws and regulations
Article 36 of Constitution of People’s Republic of China stipulates: Citizens of the People’s Republic of China enjoy freedom of religious belief. No state organ, public organization or individual may compel citizens to believe in, or not to believe in, any religion; nor may they discriminate against citizens who believe in, or do not believe in, any religion.

According to the laws of our country, the international covenants we signed also have legal effects.

Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), proclaimed by the United Nations in 1948, stipulates: Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

The provisions of the Constitution and the provisions of the UDHR means that every citizen has the right of freedom to believe in or reject a religion. Citizens of all religions have the freedom to chant, worship, pray, preach, assemble, baptize and other religious activities according to their own doctrines, canons and traditions. While religious practitioners exercise their right to religious freedom, as long as they don’t violate the provisions of national law, jeopardize public safety, destroy the social order, threaten national interests or the legitimate rights and interests of other citizens, it is legitimate.

In summary, the facts are unclear and the applied laws are incorrect as described in the Administrative Punishment Verdict made by the defendant; therefore, it should be revoked, and the items illegally confiscated by the defendant should be returned to the plaintiff. Hereby, the plaintiff brings an administrative suit to this court, in hopes of support for the legitimate requirements.

To: Meilisi Daur District People’s Government

The person filing the suit: Shen Fuchu
01/11/2016

Attachment:
1. A copy of the Administrative Punishment Verdict from the Qi-Mei-Police Decision No. (2015) 192, given to the defendant on Sept. 10, 2015
2. A copy of the plaintiff’s photo ID


Application for Administrative Lawsuit

The plaintiff:
Name: Zhang Jun, Han nationality
ID No. 52010219680419251X
Address of registered household: Apartment 8, Unit 1, 30 Shangzai, Guigong Street, Nanming District, Guiyang
Mailing Address: Apartment 702, Unit 1, Wenchang District, 226 Baoshan South Street, Nanming District, Guiyang
Postal Code: 550002
Phone: 18786092137

The defendant:

Name: Yunyan District Branch of the Guiyang Municipal Religious Affairs Bureau
Legal representative: Xue Jing
Address: 299 Xintian Ave South, Yunyan District, Guiyang
Phone: 0851-86679251 Zip Code 550004

The applicant does not agree with the “Yunyan District Religious Affairs Bureau Ban (2015) No. 1” issued by the Yunyan District Branch of the Guiyang Municipal Religious Affairs Bureau and is applying to the Yunyan District Branch of the Guiyang Municipal Civil Affairs Bureau for administrative reconsideration, as is according to the law.

Administrative reconsideration request:Revoke the “Yunyan District Religious Affairs Bureau Ban (2015) No. 1.”

Facts and Reasoning:On Dec. 9, 2015, Liu Lu, the defendant’s law enforcement official, and Yang Liang, a staff member of the [Yunyan District Branch of the Guiyang Municipal Religious Affairs Bureau], searched the venue established by the applicant for Christian activities (which is located at Guangxin Four-season Garden, Yunyan District, Guiyang).

[Editor’s Note: China Aid was unable to obtain pages 2-5].

Prying on religious life, which is at the deepest part of a citizen’s heart, and exercising the power of “issuing licenses” and “approval” is a severe violation of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China and the World Conference on Human Rights. In accordance with international practice, at most, national, public authorities can implement a filing system for religious activities, but they should not have the power to investigate a case first in order to grant approval and permission.

Article 5 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China stipulates, “The State upholds the uniformity and dignity of the socialist legal system. No laws, administrative regulations or local regulations may contravene the Constitution.” Article 87 of the Legislation Law of the People’s Republic of China stipulates that, “The legal force of the Constitution is the highest, and no laws, administrative regulations, local provisions, autonomous regulations, special regulations or rules whatever may conflict with it.” In accordance with the stipulations of these two laws, Article 43 of the State Council’s Regulations on Religious Affairs, which concerns, “…a site for religious activities that is established without approval….” [and states that the] Religious Affairs Bureau should ban such a site, is a severe violation of the constitution and the Legislation Law of the People’s Republic of China.

In summary, the defendant’s administrative penalty verdict is invalid and should be revoked, due to its violation of legal procedures and the substance of all the provisions related to our country’s laws.

To the Yunyan District Branch of the Guiyang Municipal People’s Government

The applicant [signature and fingerprint]: Zhang Jun
Time: 01/07/2016

Attachments:


(Meilisi Daur) Sub-bureau of the Qiqihar Municipal Public Security Bureau
Administrative Punishment Verdict

Meilisi Daur [Sub-bureau of the] Qiqihar Municipal Public Security Bureau administrative penalty verdict (2015) No. 192

Person [whose] conduct violated the law: Shen Fuchu; male; 72 years old; born: Oct. 12, 1943; Citizen ID: 330425194310120838; place of household registration: Apartment 1003, Guang Village 106, Yangpu District, Shanghai; residential address: Apartment 1003, Guang Village 106, Yangpu District; Shanghai; occupation: none.

It has now been ascertained that, from Sept. 9–10, 2015, Shen Fuchu, together with Han Xuexi, Zhou Duanzheng, Wang Huailin, Zhang Lianxiang and Niu Guizhen, used his position as a pastor to ordain other people at the residence of Niu Guizhen. Niu Guizhen and Shen Fuchu collected 70,000 Yuan (U.S. $10,700) from more than 70 persons. After inspection, it was discovered that “Hexing Church” has not been given to permission [to exist] by the state, and Shen Fuchu and the others’ roles as pastors are false.

The facts mentioned above have been [proven] true by Shen Fuchu’s interrogation record, data [from] witness testimony and other evidence.

According to the provisions of Article 51, Paragraph 1 and Article 11, Paragraph 2 of the Law of the People's Republic of China on Penalties for Administration of Public Security, it has now been decided that the penalized person Shen Fuchu will be administratively detained for 10 days, fined 500 Yuan (U.S.$77 U.S.) and have his illegally acquired 33,000 Yuan (U.S. $5,060 U.S.) forcibly returned.

Implementation method and allotted time: You must pay the fine of 500 Yuan at the Agricultural Bank [of China] in Meilisi within 15 days of the day you receive this decision. If the punished person is over 70, he will be dismissed from custody, according to the provisions of Article 21, Paragraph 3 of the Law of the People's Republic of China on Penalties for Administration of Public Security.

If the party refuses to pay the fine within the prescribed time limit, an additional three percent of the amount of the fine will be imposed each day. The additional fine will not exceed the original amount of the fine.

If you are not satisfied with the decision, you can apply to the Qiqihar Municipal Public Security Bureau or the Meilisi Daur District People’s Government in Qiqihar Municipality for an administrative reconsideration within 60 days from the day you receive this verdict, or [you can] file an administrative lawsuit with the Meilisi Daur District People’s Government.

Attachments:________ Copies [of attachments] _______

The notice has been declared and delivered to me.
Penalized person (signature): Shen Fuchu

(Seal of the related departments of the public security bureau)
09/10/2015
[Seal reads: Qiqihar Municipal Public Security Bureau, Meilisi Sub-bureau]


A Document from the Guanshanhu District Branch of the Guiyang Municipal Civil Affairs Bureau (Ethnic and Religious Affairs Bureau)

Guanshanhu District Branch of the Guiyang Municipal Ethnic and Religious Affairs Bureau Ban
(2015) No. 1

Upon investigation, [it was discovered that] Chen Wu personally established Apartment 10 on the 3rd floor of Building A7, Red Street, Bihai Community, Guanshanhu District, Guiyang as an unauthorized venue for religious activities, which violates the stipulations of Article 43, paragraph 1 of the “Regulations on Religious Affairs.” According to the “Regulations on Religious Affairs,” [this bureau] has decided to ban [the venue].

Guiyang Municipal Guanshanhu District Civil Affairs Bureau 
(Religious Affairs Bureau)

12/09/2015


Document Authorizing the Hiring of a Lawyer

Client:
Name: Zhou Duanzheng
ID No.330325195603047119
Mailing Address: Lumu Gangyao Village, Huling Town, Rui’an, [Wenzhou], Zhejiang

The commissioned:
Name: Li Baiguang, Liu Peifu
Occupation: Lawyer
Company: Beijing Gongxin Law firm
Address: Room 709 Zuo’an Community, 68 North 4th Ring Road, Haidian District, Beijing

The client hereby hires the commissioned to act as the client’s representation in the case involving the dispute between the client and the Meilisi Sub-bureau of the Qiqihar Public Security Bureau, because he does not agree with the Meilisi Sub-bureau of the Qiqihar Public Security Bureau’s administrative punishment and is filing an administrative lawsuit.

The parameters of authority for the commissioned, Li Baiguang and Liu Peifu, are:

1. To represent [the client] in the matters in connected to this dispute, including, but not limited to, reporting to the related government departments, providing legal services, filing lawsuits and negotiating with related departments in order to problem solve;

2. To modify or renounce lawsuit requests;
3. To undertake lawsuit requests;
4. To file counter suit;
5. To settle or mediate;
6. To file an appeal;
7. To apply to law enforcement;
8. To receive or carry out the authorization of forms;
9. To sign, send, and receive legal documents.

Client (signature): Zhou Duanzheng
01/05/2016


China Aid Media Team
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"Bob Fu has dedicated his life to bringing freedom of religion to the Chinese people. His story is a testimony to the power of faith and an inspiration to people struggling to break free from oppression."
—Mrs. Laura Bush

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