August 16, 2004
Most of the 100 Christians arrested July 12 in Chinas Xinjiang Autonomous Region have been released by Chinas police following international outcry about the arrests.
Five Christians, however, are still being held in the area and could be facing long prison sentences. Mr. Zhao Xinlan, 50; Ms. Li Cuiling, 44; Mr. Wang Chaoyi, 39; Mr. Yang Tian Lu, 39; and Ms. Gao Ruier, 28 are still being held in the A Ke Su prefecture, near the provincial capital of Urumqi.
In another province, Anhui, a major underground church leader has been transferred to prison. Luo Bing Yin is a leader in the Ying Shang house church group which includes about five million members. He has been sent from a local detention center to the Funan Prison. VOM sources say there has not been a court hearing, and the charges against him are unknown. He has twice been imprisoned before, first in 1978 and then again in 2001. The case against him in 2001 was handled by the national public security office, as he is considered an important figure in the underground church.
This case has become very serious, said Todd Nettleton, director of news services for The Voice of the Martyrs. We urge the Chinese government to publicly state its charges against this brother and hold a public hearing on his case.
Luos wife, Huang Xiu Lan, and their two children, a 17-year-old daughter and an 11-year-old son, are under intense pressure from the police.
VOM sources say that Brother Luos business, a DVD-duplication company, was also raided by police, who confiscated computers and other equipment. These computers reportedly contained information about other underground Christians in China.
Finally, VOM sources report additional arrests in Henan Province, following the arrest of more than 100 Christians meeting for a retreat on August 6. In the days following that raid by more than 200 police and military personnel, family members of some of the arrested Christians have also been arrested. Pastor Han Quan Shui was arrested on August 6. His wife, known simply as Mana, was arrested the following day. Ru Xi Feng, the mother of a pastor who died in 2000, was also arrested on August 7. Xue Ying, the wife of arrested pastor Zheng Wan Shun was detained and interrogated by police.
In addition to those arrests, the families of six of those arrested August 6 have received formal notice of the criminal detention of their family members. Chinese law allows incarceration up to three years without formal charges or a trial.
China talks about religious freedom, said Nettleton, but where is it? We urge the release of these Christians who simply want to worship God freely according to the dictates of their conscience.
Voice of the Martyrs
(via Intercessors Network)