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CHINA: Special bimonthly FORB Newsletter (16-31.10.2022)

General

18.10.2022 – China’s “Rural anti-cult poverty alleviation”: Why it does not work

The China Anti-Xie-Jiao Association published a long comment on a document by the Jiange County Anti-Xie-Jiao Association in Sichuan province, prepared in co-operation with the Jiange County CCP Committee. The comment goes beyond the local problems, and presents the new concept of “rural anti-xie-jiao poverty alleviation”, which is based on speeches by Xi Jinping himself.

As usual, CCP English-language documents translate “村反邪教扶贫” as “rural anti-cult poverty alleviation.” As readers of Bitter Winter know, translating “xie jiao” as “cult” is largely a political operation, as “xie jiao” has been used in China since the Middle Ages to designate “heterodox teachings” or religious groups regarded as hostile by the government.

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Buddhists

21.10.2022 – Tibetan Monks Forced to Watch the 20th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party

There are many images of China during the 20th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, but those collected and posted on Twitter by American scholar Timothy Grose are the most sad and extraordinary I have seen so far.

Although Grose also found images of other ethnic-religious minorities, those about Tibetan monks form a unique ensemble. They show the monks obviously compelled to watch the 20th Congress on old-fashioned TV sets and wave Chinese flags when Xi Jinping appears on the screen. In some of the pictures, public security officers are clearly visible. In others, we may safely assume they are there, only just outside the area captured by the camera.

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Protestants

31.10.2022 – House church Minister detained for purchasing christian books

On October 29, Li Xiaoyan, the wife of house church minister Chen Lijun, sent out a prayer request and disclosed information about her husband’s case.

Police took away Chen Lijun on August 13 because he purchased Christian books online and because of his faith. Chen has been detained on charges of fraud until now, and over 100 Christians of his church also face persecution.

On August 27, Li Xiaoyan received his detention notice issued by the Luan County Bureau of Public Security, which claimed that the Bureau criminally detained Chen on suspicion of fraud at the Luan County Detention Center.

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27.10.2022 – Henan: Pastor sentenced to 5 and a half years for printing Bibles

Printing Bibles is an activity strictly controlled by the authorities in Xi Jinping’s China. Solving the problem of the limited supply of Bibles by just contacting a printer is not a good idea. Just ask Yang Jianxin, the pastor of a Reformed house church in the county-level city of Lingbao, administered by Sanmenxia city in the central province of Henan.

As a pastor who stubbornly refused to join the government-controlled Three-Self Church, Yang was kept under surveillance for several years, within a local context where a massive campaign of removal of crosses and demolition of churches, which did not even spare those belonging to the Three-Self organization, was started in 2018.

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26.10.2022 – Chinese Evangelist detained yet again

Chen Wensheng, a resident of Hunan province, is a well-known street evangelist in China. On October 12, he was summoned to the local police station, where authorities asked him not to preach on the street before the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

After he was summoned to the police station, Chen and his wife were taken away to the mountains for a month and a half “vacation.” While Chen is reportedly using the time for rest and study, it is likely that he was detained to prevent him from preaching the gospel during the government sessions.

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25.10.2022 – Church of the Rock: Wife of detained Pastor speaks out

Rarely do relatives of victims of religious persecution speak out but this is what Hao Ying, the wife of Pastor Geng Zejun, did last week on WeChat. Not surprisingly, her posts that included a detailed reconstruction of Pastor Geng’s story, were promptly deleted.

Bitter Winter has reported in the past about the persecution of the Church of the Rock, a house church with a reformed theology located in the Huinong district of the prefecture-level city Shizuishan, the second largest city in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, located near the border with Inner Mongolia.

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20.10.2022 – Shaanxi: Persecution of the Church of Abundance continues

A new appeal has been circulated on October 17, 2022, by the spouses of the detained leaders of the Church of Abundance (Fengsheng) of Xi’an city, Shaanxi province.

The wives of Pastor Lian Changnian and Brother Lian Xuliang, and the husband of Sister Fu Juan report that their spouses are detained in government-designated residences and accused of “religious fraud.”

As Bitter Winter had reported, the Church of Abundance was raided on August 10 and “liquidated” on August 17. The trio has remained in detention ever since.

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19.10.2022 – Harbin: Christian Music School teachers awaits trial

In Harbin, the capital of Northern Heilongjiang province, a Christian music school was raided last September in the early morning by the police, and its principal arrested.

Maitzu Shengle Superior School is a Christian school for talented young musicians, specialized in choir singing and piano lessons, whose principal is Pastor Xu Feng.

Chinese law prohibits teaching religion to minors. However, the school does not teach religion. It teaches only music, although some of its graduates are sent there by their churches to be trained to sing in church choirs.

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17.10.2022 – Christian fined $20,000 for organizing religious training event

Yunnan Province Dali Municipal Bureau of Ethnic and Religious Affairs decided to fine Ji Chungang 150,000 yuan (~20,848 USD) because he organized a religious training event. Ji Chungang, 41 years old, is from Zhumadian City, Henan province, but resides in Kunming City, Yunnan province.

The Written Decision of Administrative Penalty issued by Dali Municipal Bureau of Ethnic and Religious Affairs states that Ji Chungang organized a religious training event at Yishanhai Inn, Yanghe Village Committee, Dali Town, Dali City on June 28, 2022, without authorization. The primary evidence includes 19 copies of transcript of the query made on site, two photos of the site, the name list of people attending the event, and documents collected on site.

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Falun Gong

27.10.2022 – Police arrest Falun Gong practitioner and his Cousin, draw their blood for organ matching database

The police in Jinan City, Shandong Province, seized a Falun Gong practitioner and his cousin on October 4, 2022. According to his cousin, who was released a few days later, the Yuanzhi Police Station officers handcuffed Mr. Xu Wenlong and put heavy shackles on him. They drew a sample of his blood and threatened to kill him. Mr. Xu was later given six months of house arrest to be served in Laosilijie Police Station. He has since been denied family visits.

This isn’t the first time that Mr. Xu, 36, has been targeted for his faith. He was previously arrested twice and sentenced to eight years in prison following one of the arrests.

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23.10.2022 – Four Guangdong Residents Sentenced to 2-4 Years for Practicing Falun Gong

Four Guangzhou City, Guangdong Province residents were sentenced to prison in July 2022 for their faith in Falun Gong.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

Mr. Tong Xuesheng, Ms. Sun Xiuli, Ms. Zhang Yongmei and Mr. Mai Kanglin were arrested on July 3, 2020 and held at the Tianhe Detention Center. After the police submitted their cases to the Haizhu District Procuratorate on October 29, the prosecutor twice returned their cases, citing insufficient evidence. The police refused to release them and submitted their cases for the third time on February 8, 2021. The prosecutor later indicted the practitioners.

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20.10.2022 – Three Henan women on trial for their faith, two of them have been sentenced

Two of the three Luoyang City, Henan Province residents who stood trial in June 2022 have been sentenced to prison for their faith in Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

Ms. Liu Guihua, Ms. Li Xiaoyan and Ms. Zhao Hongjuan were arrested on March 29, 2021. One day before their hearing on June 24, 2022, a judge surnamed Guo from Luolong District Court called Ms. Li’s lawyer and said that he wasn’t allowed to represent Ms. Li anymore. Guo claimed that Ms. Li already had a lawyer and he refused to provide further information.

It’s not clear whether the lawyer referred to by Guo indeed represented Ms. Li during the hearing and whether he or she entered a guilty or not guilty plea for her. None of the practitioners were allowed to read their defense statements during the hearing either.

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