Son of Chinese religious freedom advocates talks about parents' detention

The son of a Chinese couple who had been taken from their home talked to organization China Aid and described what really happened.

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Wen Xiaowu and Xiang Lihua, a couple from Zheijiang province known to be advocates of religious freedom, were arrested on April 25. Their youngest son said a dozen officials came to their home and demanded that his parents come with them. The officials reportedly showed a search warrant.

His older brother attempted to prevent the officials from arresting their parents but was not able to stop them.

About one hour after taking their parents, the officials came back, this time arresting the older son Wen Yidian who had previously tried to stop them.

Two days later, Xiaowu and Lihua were detained on charges of "gathering a crowd to disturb public order," while their older son Yidian was detained on charges of "obstructing public service." The charges were issued by the Rui'an Municipal Public Security Bureau.

According to the members of the local church, the couple was known to give legal counsel to Christians who have experienced persecution from the government. Aside from this, they recently met with officials from the U.S. Consulate and discussed the Chinese government's campaign to demolish crosses on church buildings. Local church members said the latter could most likely be the reason for their incarceration.

China Aid, an organization that helps persecuted Christians in China, sought help from the U.S. State Department and recommended that measures be undertaken to pressure China into releasing Xiaowu, Lihua and their son.

"This matter is an example of the authorities violating Wen Xiaowu's right to freedom of speech and freedom of religion," China Aid president Bob Fu said. "We call on the American and Chinese authorities to take action immediately so that Wen Xiaowu, his wife, and their son can be released."