Date: April 29, 2022
|The summons issued by Xiamen City Jimei District People’s Court (Photo: ChinaAid source)|
(Xiamen, Fujian province—April 29, 2022) On April 26, Xiamen City Jimei District People’s Court issued a summons to Yang Xibo, the minister of Xiamen Xunsiding Church. The notice required that Minister Yang Xibo should attend his hearing for his penalty and administrative reconsideration on May 10.
On July 29, 2021, Xiamen City Siming District Bureau of Ethnic and Religious Affairs issued a fine to Yang Xibo and his wife—Wang Xiaofei—of 200,000 yuan (~31,200 USD) on a charge of organizing illegal gatherings. The notice states:
“Authorities found out via legal investigation that you organized ‘Xunsiding Church’ religious events at Pan-Pacific Hotel Liuhong Room without the authorization of the religion department of government and facilitated the illegal religious events, which violates Religious Affairs Regulations Articles 40 and 41. Pursuant to Religious Affairs Regulations Article 71, it is decided that Yang Xibo and Wang Xiaofei should be fined 200,000 yuan (100,000 yuan for Yang Xibo and Wang Xiaofei respectively) as the administrative penalty.”
Minister Yang Xibo and Wang Xiaofei did not agree with the administrative penalty, so they submitted the application for administrative reconsideration to Siming District People’s Court immediately, asking them to rescind the decision.
Xiamen Municipal Bureau of Ethnic and Religious Affairs argued that Yang Xibo is the organizer of “Xunsiding Church” which was already shut down, and Wang Xiaofei is actively involved in “Xunsiding Church” which was already shut down. Both helped organize illegal religious events. These two were the coordinators for events either separately or together, set up the event venue and equipment, preached the gospel at the events, negotiated with law enforcement personnel on behalf of congregants, organized believers to leave, and planned external communication and promotion. However, none of the religious events were authorized by the government, so the communication, coordination, decision, and preparation by Yang Xibo and Wang Xiaofei made the illegal religious events happen. After “Xunsiding Church” which Yang Xibo planted without obtaining the Religious Event Venue Registration Certificate was shut down, Yang Xibo continued to organize multiple illegal religious events and facilitated these events, so he has violated laws severely; and Wang Xiaofei still organized and attended “Xunsiding Church” and its illegal events even though she knows the church was shut down.
According to the Chinese government, Yang Xibo and Wang Xiaofei have violated Religious Affairs Regulations Articles 40 & 41. Bureau of Religious Affairs of Siming District People’s government has the right to enforce the law and issue the Decision pursuant to Religious Affairs Regulations Article 71 and Administrative Penalty Law.
Minister Yang Xibo said that the decision did not surprise him. His response instead was:
Legally, administrative action was filed. Faith-wise, obedience to God and disobedience to man is proper. Paul was determined to enter Jerusalem, knowing that chains awaited him. The Lord Jesus was determined to enter the earth, knowing that the cross awaited him. he should obey God not humans by his faith. Paul determined to enter Jerusalem although knowing that chains awaited him ahead and the Lord Jesus knew that he would be nailed on the cross but determined to come to the world from the Heaven.”
Last Thanksgiving, Xiamen municipal government rejected his appeal and enforced a fine from 2019. His fines combined to approximately 55,000 USD.
Xunsiding Church is Ximen’s largest house church and one of the most heavily persecuted house churches in Fujian province. Minister Yang Xibo’s aunt. Yang Xinfei, and his father, Minister Yang Yuanzhang, are the spiritual seniors of Chinese house churches in the region, and authorities sentenced both to 15 years and five years respectively because they did not join any Three-Self churches.
When the Yang couple received the summon on April 28, 2022, Early Rain Covenant Church sent out a prayer request, asking Christians of the church to lift up Minister Yang Xibo of Xiamen Xunsiding Church and his wife, Wang Xiaofei.
~Yu Bing, ChinaAid Contributing Reporter
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