Christians freed in 'good health'

PUBLISHED : Monday, 22 July, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 22 July, 1996, 12:00am

Beijing police have released two Christians after holding them in custody for about two months, sources say.

Bob Fu Xiqiu and his wife, Heidi Cai Bochun , were released on July 8 after being held by police for their involvement in a Christian training centre near Beijing.

One source said the couple were apparently treated well while in custody.

After their release, police informed Mr Fu's workplace, the Communist Party School, that he could continue his teaching job and the two could keep their living quarters there.

In addition, they have not been pressed into paying fines.

While they were being held at a detention centre in Fengtai district, Beijing police had searched at least two churches in the city but found no concrete evidence against them. One source who visited the couple after their release said they appeared to be in good health and had not suffered any beatings.

Another source said they might return to their native Shandong.

It was understood police warned the couple not to engage in contact with foreigners after their release.

Christians in Beijing, who initially thought the authorities would punish the couple as a warning to other believers, expressed surprise at their release.

One source cautioned that the release did not mean the authorities had relaxed control over Christians as there were reports of a crackdown in provinces like Henan, Anhui and Guangdong.

Meanwhile, it is believed authorities have sent another Christian, Xiao Biguang , to the Jiangxi No 1 Labour Re-education Farm in Nanchang for three years.

Although the authorities have not yet confirmed it, Xiao was sentenced to three years' 'labour re-education'.

Unlike other activists, there was no specified crime in Xiao's dossier despite his sentencing.

According to one source, Xiao is presently being treated at Yongqiao hospital for a high temperature and heart disease.

Under China's regulations, the family is not permitted to visit Xiao at the labour farm every month. He was denied family visits when he was held in a facility in Beijing.

As Xiao was taken away by the authorities in April 1994, he could be eligible for release next year.