On the eve of President Bush’s visit to Beijing, Chinese authorities instructed the leading defense attorney for a house church pastor to leave the capital, warning him not to engage in “unofficial activities.”
A Public Security Bureau agent came to Zhang Xingshui, lawyer for Pastor Cai Zhuohua, a couple of days ago, the China Aid Association reported, telling him to stay in a verifiable temporary location in Tianjin City, about 100 miles from Beijing.
President Bush is scheduled to arrive in Beijing today
The Texas-based monitor of China’s underground church said Zhang already has made the move, according to a source.
“It’s no coincidence that this kind of incident should happen again before President Bush’s visit,” said China Aid’s president, Bob Fu. “To intimidate and relocate the defense attorney for an innocent house church pastor is a ridicule of the rule of law.”
Meanwhile, a well-known house church leader, Zhang Mingxuan, was reported missing yesterday.
Zhang Mingxuan, along with his younger son, Zhang Chuang, was scheduled to return to Beijing by train at 8 a.m. Three hours later, however, a caller identifying himself as an official with the Beijing Office for Nanyang City Affairs of Henan Province told an older son, Zhang Jian, that the two were being questioned about “unofficial petition activities.”
The official said Zhang and his younger son were to be released last night. However, at 9 p.m. local time, Zhang phoned his elder son to say that he was unlikely to be released soon.
Zhang was detained for 27 hours Oct. 20 because of his leadership at Chinese House Church Association, which was established formally that day. The association has more than 50 house church leaders from 20 provinces.
China Aid said eight house church pastors and 100 members who were arrested Nov. 3 during a church service at Huangfu Town in Henan Province remain in custody.
The group identified them as Huang Hailiang, Wei Lin, X. Baozheng, Yang En, Liu Dianjun, Li Xia, X. Tianqin and Kong Xianhua.
Fu urged the international community and President Bush to pressure the Chinese government “to protect freedom of religion and other human rights.”
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