By BosNewsLife’s Stefan J. Bos
BEIJING, CHINA (BosNewsLife) — One of China’s most respected house church leaders remained homeless Sunday, July 20, with his wife after authorities expelled them from their home in the Chinese capital Beijing for meeting an American Congressional delegation, officials and a rights group said.
Pastor Bike Zhang, chairman of the umbrella Federation House Church and his wife, Xie Fenglan, were reportedly forced to leave their home in Beijing’s Chaoyang District this month by officials of the Public Security Bureau (PSB) one of China’s main law enforcement agencies.
The couple was initially able to find shelter in the home of a friend, but officials found out and forced them to move into a nearby hotel, said religious rights group China Aid Association (CAA), which supports the two Christians. Last week, July 14, the owner of the hotel in Beijing’s Tongzhou District, was reportedly ordered by PSB officers to expel the couple.
While trying to seek shelter elsewhere they were stopped by police who took them to a police station and “interrogated them on a one on one basis without food, drink, or rest,” said the well-informed CAA in a statement to BosNewsLife. Eventually, Xie Fenglan collapsed “due to the stress of the torture” the next morning, at around 6.00 am local time, but was only taken to hospital five hours later, CAA said.
The couple later tried to find shelter in another hotel, but were again forced to leave by PSB officers, the group explained. “Zhang begged PSB officials to allow his sick wife to stay in the location and rest overnight. The officials rejected this plea and forced Zhang to send his wife to her sister’s residence in the city of Sanhe, outside Beijing, for recovery, CAA said, adding that Zhang found residence in a local hotel.
“On July 16, while going out to buy medicine for his wife, local police officials followed Zhang and forced his wife to move out from her sister’s home,” CAA said. “Both Zhang and his wife are now forced to live on the streets and are not able to find shelter.”
When asked why the couple was being expelled from Beijing, officials reportedly responded: “Because Bike Zhang met the Americans,” a reference to the American Congressional delegation, which recently visited China. With his contact he allegedly “destroyed the harmony of the Beijing Olympic Games.”
In a related development, some 18 American Republican Congressional members have signed a petition for the release of prisoners detained by the Chinese Government for religious crimes. Some of the prisoners have been sentenced to lengthy prison terms for their alleged crimes against society. Read More..