U.S. Condemns Brutal Beating of Two Sons of House Church Leader

( [email protected] ) Oct 29, 2008 03:00 PM EDT

The United States strongly condemned on Thursday the “brutal beating” of two sons of a detained Beijing priest and voiced concern over what it said was a pattern of intimidation of religious leaders in China.

States Department spokesman Robert Wood said Beijing-based pastor Zhang Mingxuan, president of the China House Church Alliance, had been detained and his two sons beaten up this month by public security officials.

“We are gravely concerned by the brutal beating of Pastor Zhang “Bike” Mingxuan’s two sons by public security officials,” said Wood, who did not provide details of the beating.

On Oct. 16, Pastor Bike was detained by the PSB, and his two sons were beaten while his wife

watched when 15 PSB raided their home in Beijing.

In an interview with China Aid Association (CAA), Zhang Jian, oldest son of Bike, said the doctor believe he may never regain sight in his right eye and the medical report indicate severe injuries, requiring complicated surgery.

Furthermore, Jian’s younger brother was also beaten by PSB officials when rushed to the aid of his injured brother. When their mother called the ambulance, the receptionist told her that she had been given orders by government officials not to dispatch any emergency personnel to the Zhang’s home.

Wood urged the Chinese government immediately to release Zhang and his family members to return home, to condemn the violent acts committed against his sons, and to bring to justice those individuals responsible for such acts.

“We are also deeply concerned by the continuing official harassment of Pastor Zhang, a prominent Beijing house church leader, including his arbitrary detention and the forced relocation of his family,” he said.

“We are concerned about a pattern of intimidation of religious freedom and rule of law advocates and their family members,” Wood said.

China has a long history of religious freedom violations, including regularly raiding house church gatherings and imprisoning its leaders.

In China, Christians are only allowed to worship in state-sanctioned churches supervised by the Three-Self Patriotic Movement, which follows rules set by the government.

House church Christians refuse to join the registered churches because they argue that God, and not the government, is head of the church.