Christian Activist Escapes Police Detention (Updated)
A Christian activist reported missing after he was confronted by security officials while en route to a church service attended by President Bush has escaped police detention, his brother said Monday.
Hua Huilin said his brother Hua Huiqi hoped to be able to tell President Bush the people praying with him were not real Christians. Hua Huiqi is an underground pastor who has been arrested several times because of his religious activities.
Bush has been criticized for attending a state-sanctioned church instead of the private so-called "house" churches even as he has put pressure on China for greater religious freedom.
"It just goes to show that God is universal. No state, man or woman should fear the influence of loving religion," Bush said Sunday after attending the service.
The brothers were cycling to the Kuan Jie Protestant Church at around dawn Sunday when he they were stopped by men in black cars. They were put in two separate cars and their bikes, mobile phones and Bibles were take away.
Hua Huilin said he was released around 2:00 p.m. and the bikes and phones were returned to him but not the Bibles. Later that night, he got a call from the police asking if his brother Hua Huiqi was back home. The police said Hua Huiqi had escaped while they were sleeping, Hua Huilin said.
Here's the full text of a letter that Hua Huiqi, who is in hiding, sent to an activist group:
Dear Human Rights in China,
I am Hua Huiqi. I turned 46 this year. In 1990, I accepted Jesus
Christ as my Lord and Savior and was baptized in 1992 at Kuanjie
In the almost 20 years of my journey as a believer, I have endured
countless threats, intimidation, beatings, and detentions by the
police. During the 2008 Olympics I have been continuously under
surveillance and threatened by the police. At 6 a.m. on August 10, I
was on my way to Kuanjie Protestant Church to worship when I was
intercepted by police working on religious affairs from Chongwen
District. State Security police officer Bai Ying led 7-8 plainclothes
officers who beat me and dragged me and my brother Hua Huilin into two
The police brought us to their office in the Hong Kong New World Group
building and interrogated us. They asked me why I was going to Kuanjie
Protestant Church to worship and threatened me, saying, "You are not
allowed to go to Kuanjie Protestant Church because President Bush is
going there today. If you [try to] go again, we will break your legs.
We brought you here to wait for orders from our superiors. We shall
see how they want to deal with you."
They confiscated my Bible and thereupon began their watch over me. I
prayed. After about 4 or 5 hours, when I saw that the people who were
watching me had all fallen asleep, I fled. But I'm afraid to go home.
I ask that you closely monitor our freedom of belief and our personal safety.
August 11, 2008
August 11, 2008; 5:24 AM ET
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