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House Church Activist Latest Victim in Pre-Congress Crackdown

November 7, 2002

For Immediate Release

An active member of China’s underground Christian church, Hua Huiqi, has become the latest victim of an official crackdown against dissidents prior to the 16th Party Congress. Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned from knowledgeable sources that Chinese authorities have forcibly removed Hua and his wife Ju Mei to Shanxi.

HRIC’s sources say that several Public Security police officers apprehended Hua and Ju in their Beijing home without presenting a warrant or any other legal document, and without giving any reason for their arrest. The only information provided by police regarding Hua and Ju so far is that they have been taken to Shanxi.

Hua’s 82-year-old father, Hua Zaichen, who is bedridden with ill health, and his elderly mother Shuang Shuying, have been left alone in Hua’s home, even though they are too frail to take care of their own basic needs.

This is not the first time that Hua’s family has experienced official persecution. On a previous occasion the entire family was forcibly removed to Chengshousi in Guanjiacun, a locality in Beijing’s Fengtai district.

Hua and Ju have for some time been prevented from communicating with the outside world by police, who have surrounded their home and barricaded it with iron railings, transforming the house into a private prison.

Hua and his family are seldom allowed to leave their home, and have been obliged to request food and other provisions from the police. The devoutly Christian family also has to obtain police permission to pray or carry out any other form of religious observance.

Hua is one of the earliest and most important members of Beijing’s underground Christian house church. He has been beaten and arrested on many occasions because of his religious activities.
Hua’s father, Hua Zaichen, a veteran of the Sino-Japanese war, spent more than 20 years in Reeducation Through Labor (laodong jiaoyang), after which he became an outspoken opponent of RTL. Over the past half year Hua and his family have carried out protests several times at Tiananmen Square regarding official complicity with business interests carrying out forced clearance in some Beijing neighborhoods.

HRIC president Liu Qing says, "Once again under the pretext of conducting the 16th Party Congress in a peaceful and stable atmosphere the Chinese government is abusing human rights. The ‘peace and stability’ created by suppressing free expression and human rights will never result in a truly peaceful and stable society. Chinese officials like to claim that Chinese citizens are now enjoying more human rights than ever before in history, but they will have a hard time convincing the world of their sincerity when they continue to openly trample on human rights."

HRIC urges the Chinese government to remove the prison-like conditions that the Hua family is forced to endure, and recognize the most basic humanitarian principles by releasing Hua and Ju to care for Hua’s elderly parents.

For more information, contact:
Stacy Mosher (English) 212-268-9074
Liu Qing (Chinese) 212-239-4495