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June 23, 2009

UPDATE: Rock Church of Zhengzhou, Henan Banned; 7 Christians Still Detained

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Persecution - Chrisitan Rock Church Zhengzhou seal 

Photo: Rock House Church – abolished and sealed by authorities.


June 23, 2009

HENAN – ChinaAid received more details regarding the persecution of Rock (Panshi) Church, a house church in Zhengzhou City, Henan. On June 14, government officials forcibly abolished and sealed Rock Church’s building. Eight Christians have been detained, with one released.


The incident began at 9:15 a.m. on June 14. Members of Rock Church were having their Sunday worship service, when several dozen unidentified officials and police officers suddenly broke into the gathering sites on the third floor, sixth floor and seventh floor. It was later learned that the officials were from the Zhengzhou Municipal Bureau of Religion and Zhengzhou Municipal Bureau of State Security.


Authorities occupied all the rooms, and detained the Christians. One young woman was in the restroom when a male police officer kicked open the door. Police officers on the seventh floor took videos and photos of all the Christians. Several officials dragged Pastor Dou Shaowen to the pulpit and attempted to force him to announce that the Sunday service was finished, and to disperse the church members. Pastor Dou refused, saying, “Sunday service must go on! Everything else should be discussed after the worship service.” Two police officers forcibly dragged Pastor Dou from the pulpit and attempted to take him away. The church members denounced the officials’ behavior and demanded that they produce warrants for the arrests and for sealing the church building. The authorities did not have warrants, but read a public notice from the Jinshui District Bureau for Ethnic Religious Affairs of Zhengzhou Municipality, stating:


“This is to notify that it has been found through investigation that Dou Shaowen, Feng Lu and other individuals who call themselves missionaries, have established a site for religious activities without approval at 326, Nanyang Road where they engage in illegal religious activities. They have seriously violated Article 43 of the ‘Regulations on Religious Affairs’ which states: ‘Where a non-religious body or a site not for religious activities organizes or holds religious activities or accepts religious donations, the religious affairs department shall order it to discontinue such activities….’  Now Dou Shaowen, Feng Lu and others are hereby ordered to immediately stop all the illegal religious activities at this site. The site for illegal religious activities at 326, Nanyang Road is therefore abolished.”


After officials read the notice, they forcibly escorted Pastor Dou Shaowen, and another Christian, to Dashiqian Police Station of Jinshui District, Zhengzhou Municipality. In the meantime, officials escorted Feng Lu, the pastor’s wife, to her home where they searched the house and confiscated a computer and other personal property.


The Christians insisted on finishing the Sunday worship service, even though authorities cut off the electricity and continued to take videos and photos, demanding that the Christians leave. 


After the service, officials forced four Christians: Li Zhimin, Wei Jianhua, Zhang Julin, and Ma Jianbo to accompany them to Dashiqiao Police Station of Jinshui District of Zhengzhou Municipality for interrogation. Finally, the authorities posted sealing tape from the Bureau of Religion, sealing off all the worship sites of Rock Church.


Police released one Christian at 10 p.m. the same evening, while the relatives of the other six arrested Christians received phone calls at around 11 a.m. the next day, June 15, notifying them to come to Jinshui District Detention Center to pay a fine of 800 to 900 yuan. They were also told that their family members had been given a 15-day detention. After the families paid the fines, they were not given receipts or shown detention notifications. At 10:30 p.m. on June 15, police summoned another church member, Li Cuiying, and, as of the time of this press release, Li, along with the six other Christians, is still being detained.


Please Contact the authorities at the Jing Ba Lu Branch PSB office in Zhengzhou City and ask for the immediate release of the seven Christians. The contact number for Jing Ba Lu Branch PSB office is +86-37163931313.