Christians Beaten in Zaoyang Raid, Alimujiang’s 15-Year Sentence Upheld

Thursday, March 3, 2011

RFA Mandarin Newstranslated by CAA
Notification of penalties on Du Xianping and Zhao Ximei. (China Aid Association/reporter Qiao Long)As a group of Christians in Yangdang Town, Zaoyang City, Hubei Province were receiving lessons in a training program last week, they were raided by the local police.  Some of the Christians were beaten and their computers were seized.  The local police told this radio station that the gathering of these believers was an illegal one.  In another development, the appeal by Alimujiang, the Christian in Xinjiang who was sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment on the charge of “disclosing state secrets,” was rejected by the court and the original sentence is upheld.  Following is a report by Qiao Long, special reporter of Radio Free Asia.

According to news from China Aid Association, a Christian human rights defense organization based in Texas, USA, on the afternoon of February 23, as a group of Christian co-workers in Dianzi Street, Yangtian Village, Yangdang Town of Zaoyang City, Hubei Province were receiving training on how the church can defend its rights through the law, they were raided by the local police and the departments in charge of religious affairs.  All the people who attended the study session were taken to the local police station, and some of the co-workers were beaten, detained, and their computers and other items seized.  The two believers who have received penalties are Du Xianping and Zhao Ximei.
The decision statement for the penalty claims that the two people have violated the “Regulation on Religious Affairs” by establishing a venue for religious activities without proper approval and by engaging in illegal religious activities.  They abolished the so-called illegal religious activities and the so-called venue for illegal religious activities and confiscated the so-called incomes from illegal religious activities.
The reporter could not reach the two people, so he called the director of Yangdang Township Police Station.
Reporter: Hello.  Are you director of Yangdang Police Station?
Answer: Who are you?
Reporter: I’m a reporter from Radio Free Asia and I would like to ask you about the incident of Du Xianping and Zhao Ximei.  Have they received an administrative penalty for their gathering?
The other side simply hung up the phone.  After this, the reporter called the police station for inquiries and the other side admitted that some believers were taken to the police station for questioning.  It said they were engaging in illegal religious activities but they have been released.
Reporter: Hello.  Is this Yangdang Police Station?
Police Station: Yes, it is.
Reporter:  Yes, I have here a question.  Was a group of Christians taken away last Wednesday, i.e. February 23, for attending a class in legal training?
Police Station:  No.  They have gone.  They have gone back home.
Reporter:  Is it true that two people are penalized for that? They are Du Xianping and Zhao Ximei.
Police Station:  Theirs was an illegal gathering.
Reporter: It is a house church.
Police Station:  I’d like to ask you where you are calling from.
Reporter: I’m a reporter from Radio Free Asia.
Police Station:  Where do you work as a reporter?
Reporter: Radio Free Asia.
Police Station:  Where is this?
Reporter: In America.
Police Station: I see.  You just want to ask whether they have been penalized, right?  The people in charge of this have gone out for businesses.
For the above conduct of the Public Security Bureau, Pastor Zhang Mingxuan, president of the Chinese Christian House Church Alliance, said, “Because the Two Conferences (the National People’s Congress and the Chinese Political Consultative Conference)  are already in session, all levels of the government, out of concern for the safety of the Two Conferences, are afraid of these Christians and pro-democracy activists throughout China.  Therefore, they want to control these gatherings.  However, the Chinese government has always been doing that.  Overall, things are actually much better these days than in the past.”
Zhang Mingxuan also said that when the local governments suppress the legal believers, it is detrimental to social stability and it is also a violation of the relevant policies in China.  He calls on the government to abide by the principle of “safeguarding social stability.”  “I hope the government loosens its policies on religion in the true sense of the word and treats the believers strictly according to its religious law, so that the believers have real religious freedom.  However, what they are doing now is actually undermining the harmony. I hope the central government treats the Chinese religious believers in a right way.”
The authorities continue to keep a tough and high-handed profile in suppressing the Christians.  According to China Aid Association, Xinjiang Higher People’s Court has made a decision in its reconsideration of the case of Alimujiang, the ethnic Uyghur of Xinjiang, and it was notified in mid-February of 2011. Alimujiang is serving his sentencing in No. 3 Prison of Xinjiang in Urumqi.  The court ruled to uphold the original sentence of 15 years of imprisonment.
Gulinuer, wife of Alimujiang, confirmed with the reporter on Tuesday that the indictment was rejected, but Alimujiang said he would appeal.
Reporter:  Are there any results from the retrial of Alimujiang?
Gulinuer: Yes, it was rejected and there was no retrial.
Reporter: Do you mean they uphold the original sentence of 15 years?
Gulinuer: Yes. Right.
Reporter:  Do you plan to appeal?
Gulinuer:  Yes, we’ll appeal.
Reporter:  Have you seen him after that?
Gulinuer:  Yes.
Reporter:  What does Alimujiang think of this?
Gulinuer:  He also wants to appeal.
Reporter:  Have you seen Lawyer Li Dunyong?
Gulinuer: Yes.
Reporter: When did you receive this notification?
Gulinuer: Around February 20.
On August 6, 2009, Kashi Intermediate Court secretly sentenced Alimujiang to 15 years of imprisonment on the charge of “illegally providing state secrets to foreign nationals.”  In November 2010, Xinjiang Higher People’s Court accepted the appeal by Alimujiang’s wife Gulinuer and his mother Wuxiuerhan and decided to review the case.  On December 17, at the request of Alimujiang’s family, Lawyer Li Dunyong assigned to represent in this case by Gongxin Law Firm of Beijing arrived in Urumqi and met with Alimujiang’s wife Gulinuer.  However, the judge advised his family not to spend any more money in hiring the attorney as the case had already been studied in a collegiate bench and had already been decided upon.  The reporter has not been able to get into contact with the lawyer.
Pastor Bob Fu, president of ChinaAid, comments on this. “Upholding the original sentence in the reconsideration of Alimujiang’s case is a serious failure of the ethnic policy of the Xinjiang authorities.  It has again exerted an impact on the elements of justice that sustain the social stability in Xinjiang and it has aggravated the confrontational sentiments between the moderates in minority ethnic groups and the government.  It is really their serious blunder in politics.”

Wusiman and Alimujiang, Christians of ethnic Uyghurs of Xinjiang, tell their love for the people of Xinjiang (China Aid Association/reporter Qiao Long)
The above is an interview report by Qiao Long, special reporter from Radio Free Asia.
Copyright © 1998-2011 Radio Free Asia. All rights reserved.

China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985