Date: November 29, 2021
|Pastor Xibo's family
(Photo: ChinaAid source)
(Xiamen, Fujian Province—November 29, 2021） On Thanksgiving, Xiamen Xunsiding Church’s pastor Yang Xibo received two “gifts” from the Xiamen municipal government. Siming district government rejected Mr. Yang’s request to cancel his administrative penalty and enforced a fine against Mr. Yang in 2019. His fines combined to ¥350,650 (~55,000 USD).
In relation to the administrative penalty, the court insisted that Mr. Yang and his wife organized religious gatherings illegally, knowing Xunsiding Church had been banned. Thus, their ¥200,000 (~31,284 USD) fine was appropriate. The second amount was an enforcement of a fine against Mr. Yang imposed in 2019 with an amount of ¥50,650 (~7,922 U.S. dollars).
On July 29, Pastor Yang Xibo and his wife Wang Xiaofei received administrative penalty notices from Siming District Religious Affairs Bureau. Each of them was fined ¥100,000 (~15,642 U.S. dollars) for organizing church gatherings. The couple refused to accept the ruling and submitted an administrative reconsideration request, asking the government to reverse the penalty. They stated in their request:
1. The administrative penalty was based on the wrong application of the law.
2. The respondent exceeded its functions.
3. The main facts are not clear, and the evidence is not sufficient.
4. The administrative penalty decision was given without following the procedure prescribed by law.
5. The penalty is clearly inappropriate.
Xiamen Religious Affairs Bureau responded:
Yang Xibo, as the organizer of the banned Xiamen Xunsiding church, and Wang Xiaofei, as a participant of the banned Xiamen Xunsiding church, organized multiple illegal religious gatherings at the following venues:
- Jinhuiyuan community (Room 801, 82) Hubinnanliuli, Siming District
- A beach under Yanwu bridge, Siming District
- Pan Pacific hotel, Siming District
Yang and Wang were responsible for contacting participants, selecting venues, preparing equipment, preaching on stage, negotiating with law enforcement personnel on behalf of religious believers, evacuating believers from the venue, and promoting the events. However, none of the above-mentioned religious events were approved by the Religious Affairs Bureau. Their efforts made these illegal religious gatherings possible. Yang Xibo started Xunsiding church without receiving a “Registration Certificate of the Site for Religious Activities”. After the church was banned by law, Yang continued to organize illegal religious events. He has severely violated the law; Wang Xiaofei organized and participated in the illegal event at Jinbiyuan community under the condition that she knew Xunsiding church had been banned. After the Religious Affairs Bureau issued a “Notice of Ordering for Correction”, she continued to organize and participate in the religious event on a beach under Yanwu bridge. She has also severely violated the law. Yang Xibo and Wang Xiaofei have violated article 40 and article 41 of “Regulation on Religious Affairs”. As Siming District’s administrative subject for law enforcement on religious affairs, we have the authority to issue the administrative decision notice in compliance with “Regulation on Religious Affairs” and article 71 of “Law of the People's Republic of China on Administrative Penalty”.
If Yang and Wang decided to refuse the administrative reconsideration, they could bring a lawsuit before the people's court within 15 days.
Pastor Yang Xibo was not surprised with the result and decided to appeal: “I will appeal according to the law, and obey God’s will. Paul knew he will be imprisoned, but he still went to Jerusalem. Jesus knew he will be crucified, but he was determined to come down to earth from heaven.”
Xunsiding Church is Ximen’s largest house church and one of the most heavily persecuted house churches in Fujian province. On May 19, 2019, officials banned them, similar to Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu and countless house churches across the nation. The government sent a lot of police officers to monitor the Xunsiding’s building, raiding Sunday services and arresting Christians. Police also demolished congregants’ houses and forced Christians to send their children to public schools. However, Xunsiding continued to grow, so the government started to impose heavy fines.
Yang Xibo responded to the heavy financial persecution:
I don’t expect justice in the world. Only God is completely just. He gives us good times and bad times to cultivate us to be more like Him. Philippians 3:20: But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.
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