House church member sues authorities after 10-day detention

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

China Aid
Reported in Chinese by Qiao Nong. Translated by Carolyn Song. Edited in English by Ava Collins.

(Hegang, Heilongjiang—Sept. 28, 2016) Authorities continue to raid unregistered churches in China’s northeastern Heilongjiang province and coastal Anhui province, detaining church members.

On the morning of Aug. 22, officers from the religious affairs and public security bureaus raided Living Water and Blessed Lamb Church in Hegang, Helongjiang, dispersing a meeting and detaining several of those in attendance.

Xu Xiangmei's detention notice was issued
by the Gongnong District Public Security
Bureau. Translation available upon request.
One of the church members, Xu Xiangmei, was accused of “preventing police officers from carrying out public services” and detained for 10 days. According to witnesses, officers forcibly pushed Xu to the patrol car, slapped her, grabbed her by the neck, and inflicted various other violent actions against her.

“Officers from the religious affairs bureau, public security bureau and civil affairs bureau broke into the church and rushed to the second floor,” an anonymous member of the church said, recounting the event. “We blocked them off and prevented them from going further upward. A young man from the public security bureau forced his way in while we were praying and singing hymns. … They threw a sister [Xu Xiangmei] to the ground and then pushed her into a patrol car and took her away. They grabbed another sister, Elder Fang, [though she was] released that night. Xu Xiangmei, on the other hand, was detained for 10 days.”

Xu herself told China Aid’s reporter that though the church usually has between 20 and 60 people on a normal Sunday, the number at this meeting was closer to 200 on account of a guest preacher visiting from Hong Kong.

After her release, Xu sued the Gongnong District Public Security Bureau on Sept. 6, claiming her detention was unlawful and demanding the court revoke her administrative punishment. According to Xu, the officer who detained her did not show any credentials or give his name. Xu’s family were not given notice regarding her detention or the location where she was held within the 24 hours mandated by Chinese law.

Police conducted another raid against a house church in Ma’anshan City, Anhui, dispersing attendees and confiscating more than 100 chairs and a lectern which had recently been purchased. Officials from both the religious affairs bureau and public security bureau threatened to return unless the church, which hosts more than 1,000 members, joins the official Three-Self Patriotic Movement.

China Aid reports on instances of persecution, such as the raids against Living Water and Blessed Lamb Church and the Anhui house church, as well as the unlawful detention of Xu Xiangmei, to expose religious freedom and human rights abuses in China.

ChinaAid Media Team
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