by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – An evangelical church in China has released a statement detailing torture and maltreatment inflicted on three of the congregation’s leaders who have been in detention since August last year, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) reports. China ranks 16th on the US Open Doors World Watch List 2023 of the top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted.
On February 22, Xi’an Church of Abundance (‘Fengsheng’) published a statement about the conditions in detention of Senior Pastor Lian Changnian, 69, his son, Pastor Lian Xuliang, 41, and preacher Fu Juan, 38, by Xi’an police since their imprisonment, CSW reports.
In its statement, the church said their three leaders had been held in ‘Residential Surveillance in a Designated Location’ (RSDL, a form of incommunicado detention recognized by the UN as a type of disappearance) since their arrest last August. They were finally transferred to a detention center on February 15, and were allowed to meet with their lawyers on February 22, CSW reports.
Since their detention, the leaders were subjected to coercive means of obtaining false confessions, the church explained in its statement. These means included beatings, starvation, blowing smoke in their eyes during interrogation, and not allowing them to use the toilet for 27 hours, CSW said.
Condemning the conduct of Chinese authorities in this case, CSW Founder President Mervyn Thomas said in a statement: ‘We are appalled by the inhumane treatment these three pastors from Church of Abundance have endured while in police custody. We repeat our call on China to abolish the practice of RSDL detention, which leads to widespread torture and violates its obligations under the Convention against Torture and other international treaties. The Chinese government must end its outrageous crackdown on unregistered religious groups and release Pastor Lian Changnian, Pastor Lian Xuliang, Ms. Fu Juan, Bishop Shao Zhumin, Father Jiang Sunian, and all others who have been arbitrarily detained or jailed for their religious activities.’
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