Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Translation: The Writings of Liu Fenggang Deemed "Intelligence" by China's Courts

On August 6, 2004, the Intermediate People's Court of Hangzhou, Zhejiang found Liu Fenggang guilty of spying for, and illegally providing state intelligence to, people abroad, and sentenced him to a fixed term imprisonment of three years  and three years deprivation of political rights. See:

The court's judgment stated: "The National Administration for the Protection of State Secrets verification opinion proved that the three articles 'What I Understand About the Facts of Liu Baozhi's 'Cult' Case in Anshan, Liaoning,' 'Reports from the Motherland,' and 'Interrogated by the Police for Preaching the Gospel in Mountain District Outside of Beijing" are intelligence.'"

In order to provide context for Liu's conviction, a translation of the article "What I Understand About the Facts of Liu Baozhi's 'Cult' Case in Anshan, Liaoning," is provided below.


What I Understand About the Facts and History of the "Cult" case of Li Baozhi in Anshan, Liaoning

Liu Fenggang

Life Quarterly, No. 20, December 2001
Dear brothers and sisters in the Lord, I'm here to tell you about something. In Anshan, Liaoning, some brothers and sisters in the Lord were gathering at someone's home. As a result, three brothers and sisters were subjected to re-education through labor. Many brothers and sisters were fined for the offense of being "cultists." They say that our brothers and sisters are cultists, simply because someone (maybe someone at the public security agency who thinks that they are cultists) has the contact information of one of our sisters and a notice from a higher-level public security agency requested assistance in an investigation. These brothers and sisters in the Lord deny that they are "cultists." They have defended themselves through reconsideration, litigation, appeals, and other legal channels, and they are currently appealing. The detailed process is as follows.

There is a Christian church on Lvhua Street, Tiexi District, Anshan, Liaoning. There are more than 2,000 believers. In 1993, the believers were dissatisfied with the "Three-Self Society" because it went against the wishes of the believers. Arrangements were made for Elder Zhang Doe, who had serious financial problems, and Father Shi Doe, a fourth-ranked priest who had been expelled from the Catholic Church, to serve as president and secretary of our church, and some believers left the church. People met in their own homes and studied the Bible.
On November 11, 2000, when the brothers and sisters were meeting at Niu Zhongfang's home, some police officers from the Anshan Public Security Bureau arrived and took the brothers and sisters who were gathering to the Religious Affairs Department of the Anshan City Public Security Bureau to interrogate the brothers and sisters.

Later, I learned that the host of the meeting, Sister Li Baozhi, had contact with a person named Ma Yanling in Weihai. She had met with Ma Yanling once or twice about a job for her son. Ma Yanling may be regarded as a member of the "All Ranges Church" or involved in the "All Ranges Church." Until now, no one knew what kind of person Ma Yanling was. It's just that Li Baozhi's name was in Ma Yanling's address book. For this reason, the Public Security Bureau determined that the gathering of these brothers and sisters was also a gathering of the " All Ranges Church." These brothers and sisters had never heard of any "All Ranges Church." Their gatherings are completely organized in an orthodox Christian manner. They study the Bible together, and there engaged in anything evil or twisted. We talked with these brothers and sisters, and everyone is also critical of heretical and extreme religious activities.
However, these police officers determined that these brothers and sisters were gathering as the "All Ranges Church" and a "cult." They resorted to "fascist" tactics against these brothers and sisters, extorting confessions by torture, and beating them. Various punishments were used including slaps, punches and kicks, "small ropes," wooden sticks, bamboo poles, electric batons, and electric grills. I will not go into details here because we have the materials from the brothers and sisters. In the end, on December 25, 2000, the Anshan Public Security Bureau sent sister Li Baozhi to reeducation through labor for two years, and brothers Sun Derong and Hou Rongshan for one year each, and fined many brothers and sisters between 1,000 and 4,000 yuan, all for participating in the "All Ranges Church" cult.

Sisters Li Baozhiand Sun Dexiang, and Brother Hou Rongshan were dissatisfied with this, and on February 20, 2001, applied to the Provincial Re-education through Labor Committee for reconsideration. On March 19, 2001, the Provincial Re-education through Labor Committee decided to affirm the imposition of reeducation through labor in the name of illegally organizing cult activities. Sister Li Baozhi was dissatisfied with this and filed an administrative lawsuit at Anshan Lishan District People’s Court. On July 20, 2001, Anshan Lishan District People’s Court held that "the actions of the plaintiff completely violated the 'Regulations on the Administration of Religious Affairs of Liaoning Province' and seriously interfered with the normal order of religious life in the city, and created a somewhat bad influence." Sister Li Baozhi refused to accept this and appealed to the Anshan Intermediate Court.


For this reason, I, Liu Fenggang, an ordinary Christian in Beijing went to Anshan to participate as an observer.
The Anshan Intermediate People's Court is located on the north side of the northwest corner of the Anshan Center Square. The hearing time was 1:00 pm, October 18, 2001, and I arrived at the gate of the courthouse on time. There were three or four believers looking up at the main entrance, and I asked them if they had come to attend Li Baozhi's court hearing. They said yes. I went up to the third floor with them. When we got to the third floor, we found that the whole corridor was full of believers who were attending as observers. There were more than 100 people. After a while, the lawyer came to tell everyone that because there were too few seats, it was changed to the sixth trial hall on the fourth floor. When everyone arrived on the fourth floor, everyone stood quietly on both sides of the passage so as not to affect the offices in the building. About ten minutes later, it was reported that because the hall was still too small, it could only accommodate more than 20 people. The lawyer would not agree to that and went to contact the court officials again. Finally, it was changed to a hall on the second floor that could accommodate more than 100 people. Everyone entered the hall, and there were no empty seats in the auditorium.
In the courtroom, there were three seats positioned above the rest. On the left was a male judge, and on the right was a female judge. The presiding judge in the middle had not yet arrived. The clerk had not yet arrived. The appellant and lawyer Hao Qinghua and Liu Chaodong sat on the right. The appellant and sister Li Baozhi had not arrived. The police said that there were insufficient police present and Li Baozhi could not appear in court. The appellee's representative, Ma Yi from the first section of the Public Security Bureau, and another policeman sat on the left.
At 1:40, the clerk and the presiding judge came in. The presiding judge announced the opening of the hearing. He first asked the clerk to announce the court rules, and then he read the court procedures, and then asked the appellant and appellee whether they wished to request the recusal of any trial court personnel. Then, let the appellant and lawyer Hao Qinghua read out the letter of appeal on behalf of the appellant Li Baozhi.
The appeal statement stated: (1) The appellant never participated in the "All Ranges Church," and the appellant cannot be deemed to have participated in a "cult" just because the appellant's name is in a certain address book. The decision on reeducation through labor, the reconsideration decision on reeducation through labor, and the administrative judgment of the People's Court of Lishan did not provide facts and evidence of the "cult" activities that the appellant participated in. (2) The decision on reeducation through labor and the reconsideration decision on reeducation through labor penalized the appellant on the grounds of cult activities, but the court of first instance maintained the punishment on the basis of the "Regulations on the Administration of Religious Affairs of Liaoning Province" which has nothing to do with cults. The two contradict each other. (3) The court of first instance found that the plaintiff's "wailing and spiritual dancing" violated the "Regulations on the Administration of Religious Affairs of Liaoning Province" and severely disrupted social order, which was inconsistent with the facts. The appellant never behaved in this manner.
The appellee stated that their handling of Li Baozhi was done in accordance with top-secret documents issued by the Ministry of Public Security which could not be produced, that the legal procedures were reasonable, and the court was requested to uphold the original verdict.
The lawyer asked: "Did you have any real evidence when you were investigating Li Baozhi's participation in the ‘cult’ organization? Is it because she had the two books "The Key to the Mountain" and "Morning Light" in her home?"
The police said: "We sentenced Li Baozhi to reeducation through labor because she disrupted social order, not because of those two books."
The lawyer once again asked the police to give evidence of Li Baozhi's involvement in a "cult."
The police said: “When we captured Li Baozhi and others, they were organizing believers to cry and laugh, and dance a spirit dance.” Then, the police read a someone's confession.
At this time, the lawyer asked the presiding judge to call witnesses in the courtroom. The presiding judge asked: "Can your witnesses prove that Li Baozhi did not participate in the cult?"
The lawyer said: "The appellee's representative maintains that Li Baozhi was participating in the cult. They should produce evidence. My witnesses can only prove that they did not cry and laugh or dance a spirit dance on the day they were arrested."
The presiding judge pondered for a while and agreed to call witnesses.
Witness Sister Doe came to the courtroom, and the presiding judge said word by word: "You will be legal liability for your testimony."
Our sister said: "I know."
The lawyer asked the witness: "When did you and Li Baozhi leave the church and start to run a house church?"
Answer: "It was 1993 when the church was fighting (dialect: fighting) when we left."
Question: "Do you know the ‘All Ranges Church’?"
Answer: "No, I don't."
Question: "Did Li Baozhi cry, laugh, and danced in your meetings?"

Answer: "No."
The presiding judge also asked the police officer (the appellee's representative) to question the witness.
The police officer came up and their first question was: "Is your meeting place approved and registered by the government?"
Answer: "I don't know."
Question: "Your home is so close, why go to a house so far away for a meeting?"
Answer: "Big churches and home gatherings - I go to both."
Question: "Have you never cried during a gathering? Christians should not lie."
Answer: "I haven't cried."
The presiding judge ordered the witness to step down. The lawyer again called up a believer, and the presiding judge told him in the same harsh tone: "You have to bear legal responsibility for your words." After that, the lawyer asked: "Please tell us about the situation on the day you were arrested."
The believer said: "After we were arrested, we were all locked up in different rooms of the Religious Affairs Office on the eighth floor of the Public Security Bureau. They tortured us and screams were often heard from the rooms."
The lawyer asked: "Was there crying? Was there screaming?"
Answer: "It was the screams caused by beatings."
The lawyer said, "Go on."
The believer said: "I saw Ma Yi (Religious Affairs director) walking in the passage holding the female believer's hair with his hands. They also slapped my face and made me sign a confession that they had already written out."
Question: "Did you sign?"
Answer: "If I didn't sign, they would beat me. It was all forced."
The presiding judge said to the witness: "Step down." Then he asked the judge to read a transcript of an interrorgator who came to the church to question the elder Zhang Doe:
Question: "What position do you hold in the church?"
Answer: "I am the elder of the church."
Question: "Is Li Baozhi a believer in your church?"
Answer: "Since leaving the church in 1993, she has not been our congregant."
Question: "Do you know whether Li Baozhi participates in the 'All Ranges' cult?"
Answer: "After she left the church what she participated in had nothing to do with us."
Question: "Are the "Morning Light" and "the Key to the Mountain" confiscated from her books from your church?"
Answer: "Believers read the Bible, and there are no other church books."
After reading, the lawyer immediately produced a receipt showing that the book was sold by the church, and handed over to the court an  audit report regarding the elder Zhang Doe's serious economic problems.
The presiding judge was obviously a little impatient. He took out the notice from the Ministry of Public Security instructing the Provincial Public Security Department to investigate Li Baozhi's cult and read one section. The lawyer pointed out that this notice only ordered an investigation, and there was no conclusion. It did not say that Li Baozhi was a cultist. The Municipal Public Security Bureau designated Li Baozhi as a cultist solely because she had the name of Ma Yanling from Weihai, which is not right.
The presiding judge said the court would now hear final arguments.
The lawyer said: "In the above trial process, the appellee never produced any piece of evidence that Li Baozhi participated in a cult. China is constantly improving its legal system and has signed the the United Nations' 'Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights' and the 'Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.' It is hoped that the court's adjudication will be just and this Christian will be given a clean slate."
The appellee stated: "The nature of the cult is anti-government. The characteristic of anti-government is that it does not comply with the administration of the "Three-Selfs." Although the State allows believers to gather in their own homes, they are limited to their own homes. We believe that Li Baozhi's treatment was legal."
The lawyer immediately pressed the question, since it was a disturbance of social order, she would only be fined a fine of less than 1,000 yuan, and she should not be re-education through labor.
The presiding judge interrupted the lawyer's speech and announced that the court had listened extensively to the opinions of the appellant and appellee. A judgement would be rendered after review and discussion, and the court trial had concluded.
On October 23, 2001, before dawn, Li Baozhi's son and I went to the Anshan Railway Station to visit his mother in the correctional home. At this time, the sky was already bright. Although the weather was fine, the sun was shining, and there were no clouds in the sky, my mood was always heavy. I couldn't stop thinking about the scene of the court hearing on the 18th. Why did the public security agency not have any evidence, and rely solely on a higher-level public security agency's co-investigation notice to sentence our sister to two years of reeducation through labor? Why was an elderly sister who is a mother subjected to humiliation and beatings? Why is normal religious life being tarred as a cult?
The train moved forward rhythmically. Sister Li Baozhi’s son had gotten up too early and so took a nap on a small table. This child who had lost his mother's love did not have a job after graduation. His father was an honest man working as a gatekeeper at a factory. His mother was arrested. His father was always afraid and did not dare to appear in court. He is the only one who travels between Shenyang and Anshan every month taking with him the warmth of the brothers and sisters in the church.
At nearly ten o'clock in the morning the train pulled into Shenyang Station. We took a bus in front of the square to the suburbs, and then we changed to a small bus going to the Masanjia Correctional Institution 30 kilometers away from the city.
There is no high-walled electrified fence and no armed police standing guard. The sign says "Ideological Education Base of Liaoning Province." Two security guards sat in the front room. We greeted them and entered the gate of the "base."
After entering the gate and walking a long way, we came to the First Brigade of the Reeducation-through-Labor Women's Institute where Sister Li Baozhi was located. After negotiating with the police, the police promised that we could see Sister Li Baozhi. At about 12 noon, Sister Li Baozhi was taken to the canteen by a "captain" who did not wear a police uniform and handed her over to the female policeman in charge of the canteen. The policewoman pointed to the table where we were sitting, and Li Baozhi came over. She is not a tall woman, she had a round face, and her small eyes showed a gentle joy. I hurried forward, held her hand, and hurriedly introduced myself, and said: "I am a brother from Beijing. I was invited by your church and entrusted by our brothers and sisters in Beijing to come to Anshan to participate in your appeal court hearing. I am here to visit you today."
At this time, I noticed that Sister Li Baozhi's eyes were welling up. My hand is held tightly.
I asked Sister Li to sit down and told her in detail the whole process of the hearing at the Anshan Intermediate Court on October 18. When she heard that the lawyer went all out to ask the other party for evidence of Li Baozhi's involvement in a cult, but the other party still could not produce it, Li Baozhi said: "I did not appeal on behalf of myself. I suffered and was beaten for the Lord. I can bear it.  But to call the Lord’s church a cult, I will never agree to that."
I asked Sister Li Baozhi: "Have they beaten you?"
Answer: "I was beaten in the Religious Affairs Office of the Public Security Bureau, but I was never beaten in the correctional center. Ma Yi from the Religious Affairs Office came to the correctional center and threatened me twice."
I said to Sister Li, "Would you please tell me about the assault in the Public Security Bureau?"
Answer: "Very well. On November 11, 2000, I was arrested during a gathering and detained in the Religious Affairs Office on the eighth floor of the Public Security Bureau. That night, I heard the screams of two brothers, Hou Rongshan and Sun Dexiang, accompanied by the sound of electric shocks, and two sisters were beaten by them that night. Sister Zhang Yaru was taken to the hospital for resuscitation that night and then brought back to the Public Security Bureau, and the used handcuffs on sister Niu Zhongfang."
Sister Li Baozhi cried and couldn't speak anymore. I put some food in Sister Li's bowl and let her calm down.
Sister Li went on to say: "They handcuffed Sister Niu's hands to the heating pipes, and her feet were tied. The hateful thing is that the policemen sat on Sister Niu's body and shocked Sister Niu's upper body and the soles of her feet with electric batons. In the second half of the night, they used a small rope to tie the sister's shoulders, so that the sister vomited blood, they forced her to confess that I once said, "The church cannot be saved", and when we gathered I cried and danced. Sister Niu was tortured like this just because she would not say anything. Since you came you can go and ask about it."
I nodded. Then I asked: "How did they treat you?"

Answer: "They also used electric shocks, slapped my face, and slapped my mouth. The interrogators knew that I had a heart condition and had prepared a box of rescue medicine for me. Religious Affairs Office Director Ma Yi also said: 'Do you know what fascism is?' the implication was to let me know that he was a fascist, so all I could do was succumb. I was held for a month without confessing, and then I was interrogated for three days and two nights, and I was not allowed to sleep, and my hands were handcuffed until I could no longer bear it. In my delirium, they wrote out a statement and had me sign it without letting me read the contents, and even said: 'You can only revise it, you can't rewrite it. So just sign it!'"

Time passed quickly, and our visit with Sister Li was over.
Saying goodbye to Sister Li Baozhi, we walked out of the door of the labor camp.
Liu Fenggang, a Christian from Mainland China, now living in Beijing.




生命季刊 第20期 2001年12月



    鞍山市中级人民法院坐落在鞍山市中心广场的西北角的北侧,开庭时间是2001年10月18日,下午一点,我按时来到法院的大门前。大门口有三四个信徒仰头张望,我问他们是来参加李宝芝开庭的吗?他们说是,我和他们上了三楼,到了三楼一看,整个楼道内,已站满了参加旁听的信徒,有一百多人。过了一会儿,律师来告诉大家,因座位太少,改在四楼第六审判厅,大家到了四楼,大家安静地站在通道两侧,以免影响楼里的办公。大概又过了十分钟,传出因该厅还是小,只能容下20多人旁听,律师不同意,又去找院方联系。最后改在二楼能容下 100 多人的大厅。大家进了大厅,旁听席上座无虚席。

刘凤钢  中国大陆基督徒,现居北京。

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