Committee for Investigation on Persecution of Religion in China
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
China: Crackdown on a Million-member House Church;
The Leader Kidnapped,
- Over Fifty Coworkers Arrested, and
- One Tortured to Death
Flushing, NY, May 14, 2004
- Starting on April 17, a harsh crackdown on a house church with several million members started by the Chinese government. Xu Shuangfu, the leader of the church was kidnapped in Ha-er-bin, Heilongjiang Province. Thereafter, more than fifty coworkers were arrested by the police, and one named Gu Xianggao was beaten to death. According to Ms. Liu who was kidnapped together with Xu and escaped later, the kidnappers drove a police car and held guns. After Ms. Liu escaped from the hands of the kidnappers, she fell in the hands of the police of the Provincial Public Security Bureau, and never got back. When Xu's goddaughter begged the police for help, the answer was
"How can we solve the case without the 3-million RMB (Chinese yuan)?" After she realized what happened and managed to leave, the police set up a trap to catch her but failed. Xu's wife was kicked back and forth between the police departments when she tried to seek help. The situation has become very severe now - the police arrest whoever inquires about this case. The victims' families are under tight surveillance, making them unable to say anything unless willing to be arrested. According to a police officer, Xu's church is being treated as the second to
Xu Shuangfu is from Linglou Village, Xiaodian Town, Nanzhao County, Henan Province. Having devoted his life to evangelism at the age of 12 in 1957, he has been jailed many times because of his faith, six times for over three-year imprisonment. After several decades of hard work, his church has thrived in almost every province. On April 17, 2004, Xu and several coworkers went to Haerbin to visit the brothers and sisters there. After the assembly, on their way to a sister's house, a jeep with license plate number 99999 tried to intercept them several times. After they arrived at the sister's home, Xiao San, the driver left. Some minutes later, they got a phone call from Xiao San saying urgently, "I was stopped by someone!" Then the call ended suddenly. (Till now, nobody knows the whereabouts of Xiao San and his car.) Knowing this, Xu decided to leave ahead of the schedule. At 4:00 in the afternoon, a brother came to give Xu a ride to the airport. He saw Sister Liu and Xu were followed right after they went out of the building, and called them immediately. Then they decided to take the taxi to the airport. But still, they were kidnapped on the way. Fortunately, Sister Liu got a chance
[and] escaped at [...] night. She told her friends what happened: the kidnappers held guns and drove a police car. They stopped them and pulled them into the car and blindfolded them. Then they were taken to Bin County, where Sister Liu escaped. However, on 18th, Sister Liu was taken away by the police from the Provincial Public Security Bureau, and never got back.
In the morning of
the 19th, Xu's goddaughter called the kidnappers, and was told to pay three million RMB to get Xu back. She went to Dacheng Police Station for help. However, the police treated her as a criminal, interrogating her until noon. The kidnappers called her and threatened,
"Send the money before midnight. Otherwise, we will kill the old man. We are going chop down one of his fingers right now."
She was so frightened that she cried, begging the police to
find a way to rescue the hostage. The policeman answered
with a smile, "You must prepare the money quickly. How can we solve the case without the money?" She begged the police again and again, and finally, realized that the police did not want to solve the case at all. Then she managed to escape by telling them she would do according to them
- to contact his family and prepare the money. At
[...] night, the whole police station started to look for her, saying that her godfather was found and asked her to go and confirm. She knew it was a trap and then left Haerbin. After knowing what happened, Xu's wife tried to seek help from the police also. She contacted both the local police department and Heilongjiang police for many times. But she was kicked back and forth. Until now, no body has taken the case yet.
In the afternoon of
the 26th, more than fifty Xu's coworkers in Haerbin were arrested at the same time. Their homes were ransacked and seized entirely. Among the arrested were some preachers: Yin Chuanhui, Fan Yuqin, Jiao Jianmin, Lian Zhifu. A 28-year old brother named Gu Xianggao was beaten to death on
It is very clear now that this is a carefully planned, large-scale and severe crackdown on this house church by the government. We urge the international society, especially the Christians, to give a helping hand to rescue Brother Xu and his church.
The Committee for Investigation on Persecution of Religion in China is a nonprofit organization
dedicated to revealing to the world the brutal crackdown on house churches by the Chinese
Government and to helping those persecuted. For more information, please
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