On April 25, less than two weeks after a Christian woman died from being buried alive at a forced church demolition, local authorities ruled that the disputed land where the incident took place belongs to the church and its pastor for use as a religious site.
Following international outcry condemning the April 14 killing of Ding Cuimei, wife of Beitou Church's pastor Li Jiangong, a special task force consisting of the township government, the local ministry of land and resources and a village administrative committee declared that the land where the incident took place is the property of Li Jiangong and Beitou Church.
A report issued by the task force declares that no individual or other organization should claim land from the church, and designates the site for religious use. Despite the victory for his church, Li Jiangong is concerned about the lack of action regarding his wife's death. Though two members of the demolition crew were criminally detained at the time of the incident, authorities have released no information regarding their possible charges. The investigative bureau has reportedly taken no further action on the case.
Li Dunyong, a lawyer from Beijing, will represent the family in the case of Ding's murder. After an autopsy, Ding's body was placed in a preservative case under a temporary tent near the site where she was killed.
"While we are glad to see that the local authorities acted swiftly and fairly under international pressure to resolve the church's right to their land, we are concerned that justice for the family of the martyr is still not done," said Bob Fu, president of China Aid.
"Pastor Li's wife, Sister Ding Cuimei, was brutally killed on April 14. We appeal to the Chinese authorities to hold those criminal perpetrators accountable with a fair investigation and standard judicial process with full justice and unhindered legal representation by Beijing based human rights lawyer Li Dunyong."
China Aid reports on cases such as the murder of Ding Cuimei and the persecution of Beitou Church in order to expose abuses by the Chinese government and encourage the families of those affected. If you would like to help China Aid support legal cases such as the murder of Ding, please consider donating to our legal defense fund.