Police hunt for church minister

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 08 December, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 08 December, 1993, 12:00am

ANHUI police are still hunting an underground Christian preacher after arresting and sentencing six others to one to three years ''re-education through labour'', sources said yesterday.

According to copies of a verdict smuggled out of China, three of those arrested were accused of listening to a ''Hong Kong gospel radio broadcast'' and accepting Bibles from overseas.

Sources said although the verdict said the preachers were arrested for listening to Hong Kong radio broadcasts, they were programmes produced in Hong Kong but beamed into China from overseas. The escaped preacher is believed to have fled Anhui and soughtrefuge in another province.

Although the crackdown happened more than three months ago, sources said police had continued to harass local Christians and as many as 1,000 had been detained and fined 300 to 600 yuan (about HK$402 to $804) each in the past few months for attending underground church functions.

The six incarcerated preachers were expected to be sent to reform farms in big cities soon as the small farms where they were being held were too primitive.

Despite the large-scale arrests, local Christians fear the crackdown was being conducted behind the back of the provincial authorities. The verdicts were signed by Li Si'an, acting director of the Labour Reform Committee of Fuyang Administrative District.

One said that Dai Guiliang, Ge Xinliang and Dai Lanmei were guilty of ''disturbing public order'' according to the investigations of Mengcheng Public Security Bureau.

The verdict said the trio ''conspired together, following the 'Spiritual Truth Sect', and proclaimed that tribulation was coming which caused believers to stop participation in production''.

''They organised listening to Hong Kong gospel radio broadcasts, and they received overseas editions of the Bible,'' it said.

''From December 31 1992 to January 5, 1993, the above people in Dai Guiliang's home organised a 'Preacher Training Class' in which about 60 people participated.'' The trio was also found guilty of organising fellowship and prayer meetings and running a ''Gospel University''.

Another verdict said preacher Guo Mengsheng was guilty because he ''believed in religion and in his home set up a meeting place in which he was responsible for preaching''.

It said Guo was arrested on July 20 when he travelled to Danfeng District of Fuyang County with two others to organise a ''New Believers Edification'' training class.

The verdict said the other two, Liu Wenjie and Zheng Lanyun, had also been arrested and ''dealt with'' separately.