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    Daphne's Point-of-View
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    Tue, Oct 7th - 10:37AM

    China's House Church Christians File Suit Against the Government

    China's House Church Christians File Suit Against the Government
    September 22, 2008

    Although Article 36 of the Chinese Constitution guarantees its citizens freedom of religion, not everyone would say that they're free to worship without restrictions.  Ongoing friction between the government and many in religious groups, like house churches, continues to challenge and test the limits of this religious freedom.

    Most of the time authorities are willing to turn a blind eye to house church worshippers, but after authorities shut down a service of the Qiyu Blessings Church, parishioners are taking action.  According to Human Rights in China, the church is suing the Shuangliu County Bureau of People's Religious Affairs for "illegally shutting down a religious gathering held by the church on May 2, 2008."

    That day forty religious authorities shut down a Qiyu Blessings Church event, confiscated Bibles and other religious materials, and banned the gathering.  Congregants presented an informal and ultimately unsuccessful challenge to the ban in July, but are hopeful for a more favorable outcome this time. 

    Wang Yi, the litigant, says that this raid violated the law, since authorities did not demonstrate a legal basis for the raid.  The congregation of about 40 had been meeting in a rented room without incident, but their uneventful relationship with the authorities ended as soon as they met in a local hotel.  Wang maintains that this arrest was "arbitrary."

    He's not particularly optimistic about the case, and the judge has declared both the initial and secondary documentation provided to be insufficient.  Furthermore, the current legal and political climate in China might not be the most conducive to this type of a case.     

    According to a recent analysis by the Political and Economic Risk Consultancy, on a scale of zero to ten, with zero being the best, China's judicial system received a 7.25, placing tenth out of twelve countries.  Criteria for these rankings included elements like corruption, transparency, and freedom from political interference.

    The latest U.S. State Department's International Religious Freedom Report doesn't paint a more positive picture of religious freedom in China, highlighting the recent treatment of Uighur Muslims in China's Xinjiang Province.

    Regardless of the outcome, this case has already been quite groundbreaking.  This is probably the first instance of house church Christians in China filing a formal suit against the government authorities, and while it might not yield the result those who attend the Qiyu Blessings Church might want, it paves the way for other congregations to protest injustice.  

    Even if it won't shake up China's legal system today, it could definitely have wide-reaching results in the future.   

    Comment (1)

    Tue, Oct 7th - 10:35AM

    Welcome to your Blog!

    Dear Daphne Wright,

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    About Me

    Name: Daphne Wright
    ChristiansUnite ID: mountaindew831
    Member Since: 2008-10-07
    Location: Roberta, Georgia, United States
    Denomination: Baptist- Tho my Faith is in Jesus Christ
    About Me: Im a 27yr old mama of Kaylee 3 yrs and Zacharey 5 months. Me and Dan, been separated since October 2007. Hopefully getting a divorce sometime this year. (All we do is fight and hurt each other, don't love each other, don't think I ever really did.) D... more

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