Christians in China Currently Engaged in Fifteen Day ‘Sit In’ Protest at Government Occupied Church Property

November 2, 2006

300 Christians in China Protest Through Peaceful ‘Sit In’ at Church Property in Gansu Occupied by the Government; 3 Singapore Christians Arrested & Released in Xinjiang, 5 Local Believers Still in Detention
MIDLAND, Texas, Oct. 31 /Christian Newswire/ — CAA learned that on October 16, 2006, 300 Christians from a Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) church in Qinzhou district, Tianshui city, Gansu province sat silently at their original church property protesting the local government who is occupying it. They are requesting the return of this property to the church. The Christians did not succumb to the high pressure from the government. The demonstration has lasted for 15 days.

In 1966, during the Cultural Revolution, all the priests and pastors were kicked out of the church. The church property of 650 square meters was freely allocated to two nation-owned factories. After the Cultural Revolution, the church repeatedly requested the government return the property.

In 1984, the government unilaterally decided to remunerate the church 50,000 RMB for the property occupied without any real estate evaluation. Due to the huge gap between the church property worth several million RMB and the merely 50,000 RMB the government offered, the church refused to accept the decision, and continually appealed to the higher- level government and People’s Council. But the governments insist the decision not be changed.

Recently the local government sold the property to a developer for 17 million RMB, the Christians can not keep silent any longer and started the sit-down demonstration on the original church property.

The government declared that the implementation of the religious policy only means to redress the case politically rather than settle the account financially, thus insist the 50,000 RMB as remuneration.

The government also threatened the Christians to stop issuing their retirement subsidy, even resorting to violence. Yet the Christians answered by praying and singing hymns.

The Christians believe that the government’s decision contravenes the central government’s stipulation of returning the occupied property of the religious organization to its owner. They insist that the local government return the church property to the church according to the stipulation of central government.

This event is in progress.

CAA also learns that on October 20, 2006 the local police arrested more than 10 Christians, including three Singaporeans, in Qingshui Town, Huocheng County, Yili City, Xinjiang Autonous Region. Most Christians arrested, including three Singaporeans, were released October 21, 2006. Five are still in detention, they are:

Brother Liu and brother Ouyang Liang from Uramqi, brother Li Baoming, brother Tan Defu, and brother LouYuanqi from Huocheng.

All the Christians were locked in Huocheng detention centre, except brother Ouyang, who has been escorted to an unknown place. His home in Uramqi was searched by the police.

According to the eyewitnesses, the event was triggered by a local Christian family’s invitation to their fellow believers for the blessing ceremony of their newly rebuilt house. While the Christians were singing hymns in the beginning of the ceremony, the police besieged the house and took them to the local police station for interrogation.

“Signs indicate that they will very possible be prosecuted or sent to the Re-education through labor camp directly,” said Bob Fu, the president of CAA, “We appeal the local police to release these five Christians as soon as possible, because they have done nothing harmful to either the society or the country.”

Issued by China Aid Association Inc. on October 31, 2006 © China Aid Association, Inc.

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