In a letter to Human Rights in China (appended below), Beijing house church activist Hua Huiqi (华惠棋) details his abduction on Sunday, August 10, by State Security police and appeals for help. Hua was seized on his way to a church service also attended by U.S. President Bush but managed to escape from his captors.
“The abduction and intimidation of Hua Huiqi, who wanted to attend the same church service that the Chinese government invited President Bush and his family to attend, make a mockery of the principle of preservation of human dignity enshrined in the Olympics Charter,” said Human Rights in China Executive Director Sharon Hom.
Hua, a house church worshiper in Beijing, had been subjected to numerous detentions, beatings, and threats over the past 20 years as a result of his religious practice. He has become a prominent symbol of the fight for religious freedom in China. His mother, Shuang Shuying (双淑英), 76, is serving a 2-year sentence as the oldest inmate in the Beijing Women’s Prison, after appealing for Hua’s release during a previous detention.
According to his brother, Hua Huilin (华惠林), Hua Huiqi had planned to attend the Sunday service at the state-sanctioned Kuanjie Church but received a call from State Security police on Saturday evening warning him to stay home. At 1 a.m., Sunday morning, the Hua brothers slipped past the policemen guarding their house and headed for the church. They were picked up by plainclothes policemen near the church at 6 a.m.
Human Rights in China calls on the Chinese authorities to respect the fundamental freedoms which are the prerequisites of a harmonious society, and release all religious activists in detention, and urges President Bush and world leaders to protest religious repression in China.
The full text of the letter is as follows:
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 Protestant Church.
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 separate cars.
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
See also HRIC's Incorporating Responsibility 2008 Olympics Campaign focusing on Shuang Shuying in August 2008! http://www.ir2008.org/08/about.php