3 church members released, six still detained in China

June 28, 2014 by  
Filed under newsletter-world

chinaLondon, 22 June, 2014: It has emerged that three members of Nanle County Christian Church, who had been detained since November of last year, were released on June 11, according to reports from China Aid Association.

Fan Ruiling (aka Fan Ruizhen), Yan Beibei and Zhao Zhijun were among over 20 members of the church detained in November and December last year.

Yan Beibei, 23, was the youngest detained. On November 15, 2013, several church members, including Yan Beibei and Zhao Zhijun, were detained after petitioning a higher authority about a land dispute involving the church, which belongs to the state-sanctioned Three-Self Patriotic Movement.

The following day, police detained the church’s pastor, Zhang Shaojie, without any formal documentation.

Fan Ruiling was detained after attending a church service on Nov 17. Church members, lawyers and Christians who visited the family of detained Protestant Pastor Zhang Shaojie were beaten, harassed and detained by “hired thugs”, police and government agencies in December last year.

The release of Fan, Yan and Zhao leaves six church members in detention, including Pastor Zhang Shaojie and his sister, Zhang Cuijian.

Although some lawyers have been able to meet with their clients, so far only Zhang Shaojie has been to trial. He faces charges of “fraud” and “disturbing public order”.

Mervyn Thomas, Chief Executive of Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), said, “We welcome the release of Fan Ruiling, Yan Beibei and Zhao Zhijun from detention in Henan Province.

At the same time, we remain concerned about the six church members still detained, in particular those detained at an unknown location.

“We are especially concerned that the majority of the detainees have not been allowed to meet with their lawyers. CSW therefore calls on the Chinese authorities to allow all the lawyers to meet with their clients.

“We further urge the relevant authorities to urgently review each detainee’s case without delay and in accordance with the law, with a view to securing their release.”

– ucanews

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