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Published:June 20th, 2008 19:41 EST
Languishing in Beijing PSB Custody

Languishing in Beijing PSB Custody

By SOP newswire2

CAA has learned that prominent house church leader and Christian publisher, Shi Weihan, has been held in detention for the past three months by the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau on the grounds that he is a "dangerous religious element." Mr. Shi`s attorney, Zhang Xingshui, made an inquiry at the public security bureau on Monday (June 16) as to the status of his client`s case. Officials gave no information to Mr. Zhang except that Shi would continue to remain in detention. A court date was expected, since today marked the end of 2 months of his unexplained captivity. Normally, Public Security Bureau forces are not allowed to hold Chinese citizens for more than 2 months without formal charges.

Languishing in Beijing PSB Custody Despite having held Mr. Shi beyond the time legally allowed, absent formal charges or a court hearing, the PSB still refuses to allow his family or attorney to see him. Claiming an ongoing investigation in what they are calling "a complex case", they have managed to hold the owner of a legally registered Christian bookstore in an undisclosed location without giving any assurances that he is receiving his needed diabetic medicine. The PSB appears to be delaying any action on this case indefinitely, raising questions about his health and safety unanswered.

On May 16, the public security bureau also froze the bank account of the house church led by Mr. Shi Weihan. Security officials are also probing the fact that Shi was a member and coworker of CAA President Bob Fu`s House Church in Beijing before Bob and his family came to the US in 1997.

The ongoing contention of the case has brought severe stress and anxiety to Shi`s wife and two daughters. CAA calls on the Chinese Government to abide by its own rule of law and remain consistent with its stance on religious freedom and human rights, by unconditionally releasing Shi Weihan from custody. Chinese government officials, international human rights organizations, and foreign governments keen to understand China`s efforts to improve their record in the run-up to the Olympics should be asking the same questions of the Chinese Public Security Bureau officials--

"Under what court-granted authority have they arrested and held Shi Weihan?"

"Is Mr. Shi being given a fair trial on legally brought charges?"

"Why is he being denied access to legal representation?"

China Aid will continue to monitor the situation.

To voice your concern over this matter, contact:

Chinese Embassy in Washington DC
Address: 2201 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W., Washington D.C. 20007
Tel: (202) 338-6688, (202)5889760
Fax: (202) 588-9760

Issued by CAA June 20, 2008

Christian Newswire