Church leaders of a major underground church in Mainland China sent a letter of petition to the US Congress, aiming to draw their attention to the arrest and torturing of Christians by the Chinese government.
The letter dated July 1, 2004 is republished with permission through the Texas-based Chinese Christian persecution watchdog China Aid Association (CAA). Undersigned by over 100 main elders and part of believers from Southern China Church (SCC), the letter gave a detailed account of the brutal torture faced by the church leader Gong Da-li (Christian name Gong Sheng-liang) and other church members. It accused the Chinese government of breaching international human rights standards and requested for a detailed investigation.
"A large number of believers were fined, arrested, and sentenced, and their possessions were taken by the government with the charge of ‘breaking the law with the practice of heuristic organization’. The believers who were arrested were unquestioned by torture, extorted a confession, and insulted which resulted in the disability and death of our brothers and sisters," stated the letter, adding that the case of the SCC which shocked the world.
According to the letter, SCC’s leader Gong was targeted by the Chinese government that appeared to have determined to put him to death. The local court of Hu Bei made up many kinds of charges against Gong, such as organizing, using Heresy, injuring others deliberately, and rape and so on, reported the letter. He was forced to wear the instruments of torture as well. Despite of international pressure that has reduced Gong’s death sentence to life imprisonment, Gong has been mistreated both physically and mentally in the prison.
"Special people and prisoners are sent to control teacher Gong's Bible reading and praying strictly, and announced publicly that ‘One are only allowed to believe his religion in his heart, not do it with his behaviors’ In this way, a Christian is deprived of his basic rights," the letter said.
Also, Gong was not given the right of "having dinner with his families" and "staying with his families all night" like the other prisoners.
Meanwhile, Gong suffers from incontinence offices and urine, blooding and one ear deaf. "Without immediate and effective treat, he will not only be permanently disabled but also in the danger of losing his life," the letter stated.
SCC leaders expressed deep sympathy with their leaders as saying, "Although teacher Gong Sheng-lian considers it as an honor to suffer or even die for God, he expects Christianity to be protected by law in China even at the cost of himself and his church."
In conclusion, SCC leaders appeal to the UNCHR for the following actions to be taken:
- Asking the Chinese Government to perform her international duty, obey the international criterions, especially the regulations and duties from the "Declaration of Human Rights of the world" and "The United Nation Charter ";
- Asking the Chinese government to respect the belief of every citizen, and especially eliminating the discrimination and prejudice to the Christianity;
- Asking the Chinese government to pay careful attention to the case of South China Church, give back its true face, cancel the charge on it as Heresy, and protect its right of believing legally.
- Appealing the Chinese Communist Party and government to cancel its charge on Christianity and its organizations as Heresy in China, and entitle the Chinese Christians their legally proper positions and freedom of religion.
- Chinese government should allow the UN, UNCHR, commissioners from US congress to do some research on the situations of Chinese Christian in jails and that of the Christians in local Christian churches.
- Appealing the Chinese government to release the leader of South China Church - Gong Sheng-liang and other followers who are also in jail;
- Appealing the Chinese government to place the investigation on the case that our sister YU Zhong-ju from SCC was beaten to death in the police station in Zhong Xiang, Hubei Province, and affix the legal liability of those who are concerned.