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Christian Wins Civil Suit in China

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In a rare victory, a Christian who sued the police in Lhasa for criminally detaining him for a month, forcing him to write a guarantee before releasing him, and confiscating church and personal items won compensation in an out-of-court settlement on Thursday.

A hearing was scheduled for Friday in the suit filed by Song Kuanxin, a missionary to the Tibetan capital of Lhasa who is originally from Zhumudian, Henan province. He was represented by prominent Christian lawyer Zhang Kai, who is well-known for handling other high-profile cases. The day before the scheduled hearing, the Tibet Public Security Bureau said it wanted to settle out of court.

When the two sides sat down to talk, the Lhasa police offered to return all the confiscated church and personal items, including confiscated personal items belonging to other church members who did not join Song in the suit because of fear or for other reasons. The police also agreed to pay 7000 yuan (US$1110)  in compensation for losses caused by the illegal law enforcement actions by the police, including expenses for travel and partial payment for missing theology books. Song and his house church agreed, bringing the suit to a close.

On Oct. 5, 2011, Song was picked up by Lhasa police, who on Oct. 7 criminally detained him “on suspicion of [being part of a] cult group.” He was held with convicted felons, and was later notified that his detention was being extended to 30 days for “committing crimes everywhere.” While Song was in detention, police officers blasphemed and insulted his faith and repeatedly beat him.

On Nov. 11, after being forced to write a guarantee, Song was released early. However, he was told that all the belongings that police had confiscated from his home, including two laptops, were considered tools for his criminal activities and had been destroyed.

Song later wrote a detailed account of this case of persecution and distributed it widely on the Internet. He was one of 11 Christians in Lhasa who were detained by police around the Oct. 1 National Day holiday, believed to be the first time Christians in Tibet had been arrested, and the case drew wide attention among China’s house churches.

Continue Reading on www.chinaaid.org
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