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China Aid Unveils Detailed Reports of Religious Persecution in Xinjiang

A detailed report written by an outspoken human rights lawyer on some major cases of religious persecution in Xinjiang was published.
( [email protected] ) Dec 30, 2005 06:36 PM EST

A detailed report written by an outspoken human rights lawyer on some major cases of religious persecution in Xinjiang was published.

Dated Dec. 21, the report entitled "Study on the Present Condition of Christian House Churches in Xinjiang" gives a detailed account of the persecutions of the local authorities against house church leaders and believers in Xinjiang Autonomous Region. The report is the result of lawyer Gao Zhisheng's study trip to Urumqi from Nov. 15- 20.

China Aid Association (CAA), a U.S.-based Chinese Christian persecution watchdog, is authorized to translate the report into English and released online.

Gao wrote about the purpose of his report, "What we want to remind people on a constant basis is the danger of continuing to tolerate this anti-humanist power group that slaughters all the positive values- the danger to ourselves- the danger to our beloved sons and daughters."

"In any country of the world, the belief of the Christians are protected by the state. Only the power in this country cracks down on it in such a brutal way," he added.

Gao warned of the crisis of religious freedom in China and appealed for the concern of the international community.

"Brutally cracking down on people's freedom of worship results from a habit of resilient thuggery inherent in this system," he said at the end of the report. "It is time for an immediate awakening!"

All the true names of those involved in the persecutions are replaced with fictitious ones. 13 believers' oral statment regarding their experiences are chosen and published by Gao's report.

A Christian named Lianru Ma, who organized a Christmas gathering in November 2003, told Gao about how the police raided the house. It was similar to what has just happened this year in Xinjiang province.

Ma recalled that officials from the Qitai County Public Security Bureau and Bureau of Religion broke in as a dozen of Christians sang songs to celebrate Christmas. The Christians were ordered to stop their meeting. The police took photos of the Bible passages written on the blackboard and took Christians one by one to a room for written records. Ma was arrested and introspected at a local police station. He was released only after his family paid a fine of 1,000 yuan.

In another incident of August 5, 2005, 69 Christians were arrested and taken to Xishan Local Police Station after the police raided a Christian prayer meeting in a single-storey house in Team 156 on Xishan Road, according to a 63-year-old Christian called Lingzhi Xia.

"Each Christian's name was coded with a number and was written on a big piece of white paper. The police forced them to hold the white paper with their names and serial numbers in front of their head for photo sessions. Most of the Christians were fined, but they did not give any receipts," Gao said in his report.

"This is no different from a robbery," Gao commented.

Xia was one of about a dozen who were detained for 15 days, and she was interrogated ten times. Not only she faced harsh living condition, but she was being threatened to give confession that "the gathering was illegal" by physical touture, according to Gao's report.

Xia's son has learnt that she was a principal criminal after 21 days of detention. Later, Xia was orally notified of a three-year sentence of re-education through labor. After she was released, the police has collected several thousand yuan from her, Gao reported.

According to Gao's report, he summarized the fixed pattern of "stubborn and unscrupulous brutality" used by the police when interrogating Christians. While "interrogation through torture" is very common, interrogators often use "If you are not honest, we'll sentence you to three years of re-education through labor" as their powerful weapon.

Gao's report also stated, "We found in this whole investigation that a huge police force exists only for the purpose of suppressing the value of freedom of belief."

Gao condemned the "evilness" of the persecutions spearheaded by the police as saying, "In their eye, Christianity has become a cult, which is absurd beyond human understanding. Why do all the orthodox and straight practices become crooked cults in their eye? This is sufficient to show that they are really the evil forces working against the human civilization."

According to CAA, Gao has been facing increasing danger because of his continuous stance against human rights and religious freedom violations. Gao is one of the leading attorneys for Beijing House church pastor Cai Zhuohua, who was accused of printing Bibles.

CAA appeals to the international community to "pray continuously for Gao and his family and write emails and make phone calls to show solidarity and brotherly love to Gao."

Gao's full report in Chinese and English versions are available on the website www.chinaaid.org.