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  • Apr 18, 2014
  • Updated: 9:49am
NewsChina

'Don't you dare bring Christianity to Shanxi,' says official before detaining Beijing believer

Wife of Christian book store worker seeks help online after husband is detained by police

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 April, 2013, 11:25am
UPDATED : Friday, 19 July, 2013, 12:22pm

When Li Wenxi, a Beijing book store worker traveled to Shanxi province in December to help local Christians open a new book store in the capital city Taiyuan, he was threatened by local state security agents.

“Don’t you dare  bring Christian culture here,” one agent allegedly shouted at Li and his co-workers, “This is our turf.”

The police raided the new store and confiscated hundreds of books Li brought with him from Beijing.

A few days later, they phoned Li and said they would like to return the books. Without realising it was a “trap”, Li met them at a local police station.

That was the last time Li’s wife has heard from him.

It has been more than three months since Li was illegally detained by police in Taiyuan.

His wife, Li Caihong, said she has been praying everyday for him.

She  was particularly baffled when police told her Li had been charged with “illegally operating a business”.

“How could he have been operating a business when he was only there to help?” she said.

Police have also denied her bid to bail Li out, stressing the seriousness of his "crime".

An officer overseeing Li's case stopped answering the phone after she called several times, pleading for Li’s release, said Li Caihong.

The desperate wife and mother of two then turned to Weibo, China’s popular social media webiste, where she discussed Li’s imprisonment and asked for help. 

Li’s Weibo message was reposted over 4,000 times and received hundreds of comments.

“Shanxi is one of the places where Christians are persecuted with the harshest measures,” wrote a blogger from Beijing’s Gangwashi Church. “Revenge is mine; I will repay,” he said before quoting a verse from the Bible.

The comment is interesting - given the aggressively-worded press release Taiyuan’s offcials released on their website in March. It is entitled: “Yingze District successfully clamped down on a case of Christianity.”

The article gloated about how officials raided an ‘underground’ congregation and dispelled the believers. But the story was bombarded with criticism from scholars, Christians and other bloggers after someone posted it on Weibo. The article has been withdrawn since from the government website without any explanation.

Not allowed to see her husband in jail, Li Caihong has hired him a lawyer who managed to pay him a few visits, upon which Li Wenxi said he had converted several of his 20 cellmates into Christians.

Li Caihong said she’s extremely anxious since she has been lying to her  88-year-old mother-in-law, who's in the dark about her son’s jailment.

“She kept asking me on the phone where her son is,” she said. "But the truth will destroy her."

A 2010 study by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said there were 20 million Christians in the country. Many believe the actual number is much higher.

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lucifer
China has yet to understand that a sound legal system requires rule of law applied universally. They want us to believe that in the commerical context their legal system is sound, but then disobey all other laws and consitutional rights when it comes to personal freedoms. What makes matters worse is that there is no accountability and there is nobody or government department that can prevent things like this or resolve them when they become aware. Events like this undermine China's entire legal system, in and out. A sound, impartial and automomous legal system will be necessary for China's next stage of development...if that ever happenens...
fearonjones
So helping in a bookshop is not a 'normal' activity?? Jesus, does the law mean anything at all in China? From the Constitution (according to the People's Daily):
Article 35. Citizens of the People's Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration.
Article 36. Citizens of the People's Republic of China enjoy freedom of religious belief. No state organ, public organization or individual may compel citizens to believe in, or not to believe in, any religion; nor may they discriminate against citizens who believe in, or do not believe in, any religion. The state protects normal religious activities.
fearonjones
And 36
Article 36. Citizens of the People's Republic of China enjoy freedom of religious belief. No state organ, public organization or individual may compel citizens to believe in, or not to believe in, any religion; nor may they discriminate against citizens who believe in, or do not believe in, any religion. The state protects normal religious activities. No one may make use of religion to engage in activities that disrupt public order, impair the health of citizens or interfere with the educational system of the state. Religious bodies and religious affairs are not subject to any foreign domination.
the sun also rises
It is estimated that there are as many as 20 million Christians in Mainland China and the figure might be higher.It is indeed a good news ! To have something to believe in , one's soul has something to depend on---a country without any beliefs but only the pursuit of money , riches and lust is definitely a country without any hopes and is certain to collaspe sooner or later.
the sun also rises
I just can't believe Shanxi,which is so close to Beijing can be so regressive in its attitude towards Christianity and Christians as well.We Hong Kong people are really lucky enough to still enjoy freedom of religion though it is learnt that many priests or churches here, in order to gain footholds to preach their religion on Mainland have compromised with the Communist authorities by not criticizing them publicly.Yet we still have such courageous and daring priest like Reverend Chu Yiu-ming who co-organised the 'Occupy Central 'Movement with professors Tai and Chan. Bravo ! Long live the spirit of Jesus Christ and long live freedom of religion !!
fearonjones
On the mainland, the word of the law is words. In mature legal systems, the word of the law is law.

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