Petition from an underground church member

Editor’s Note: This is a message from an underground church member (interview video: who suffered unlawful imprisonment and torture, and bravely escaped from China mainland. Currently, he is trapped in Hongkong, without travel document and source of income. If you know any information that could be of potential help, please contact us.


I am Xiantian Qinghui, a Roman Catholic church member who was born in China. I used to work at the Heilongjiang Beidahuang land reclamation group corporation(黑龙江省农垦上市公司). In 2003, the political commissar (in state-owned companies in China, these are communist cadres in charge of censoring employees “dangerous thoughts”) in that company accused me of “mental illness” simply because of the fact that I am a Christian.  Then, against my will, the political cadres abducted me to a mental hospital. There they forced me to corporate with them and denounce my faith. Because I refused to do that, I was charged of the “crime of endangering public affairs ” (妨害公务罪) and without any trials(the whole process took less than 60 minutes), I was sent to the Jiamusi re-education labor camp(佳木斯劳改营).  There in the labor camp, I had been tortured several times and lost 4 teeth and part of my reproductive capacity1.  


After I finally got out of the labor camp in 2007, I founded “圣磐石会”, an NGO dedicated to collecting information about the torture and unlawful imprisonment of Roman Catholic Church members in China. During the last several years, I interviewed multiple Catholic communities in northern China and documented a list of torture cases against Catholic clerics. Including 31 ministers who are tortured to death, 2 ministers and 5 priests who are abducted and went missing.  


On July 9th, 2015, the Chinese government abducted more than 200 civil right lawyers(709 crackdown on lawyers),  including lawyer Heping Li whom I worked for. The abduction of lawyer Li made me deeply worried about myself since I was sure if I were arrested, I would face even more brutal tortures than before. To avoid being abducted again and also to find cures for my wounds from previous tortures, I decided to cross the borders to Hongkong to seek asylum. However, after I arrived Hongkong I learned that the UN refugee agency in Hongkong does not process any asylum applications from Chinese citizens. It is a tacit understanding between the UN refugee agency and the Chinese government. Thus now I am trapped in Hongkong, without travel document and source of income. 


An officer (騰鵬) in the labor camp knocked out 4 teeth from Xiatian
This is called “老虎凳”, a torturing device widely used in labor camps in China. Xiatian has been tied up on this chair while officers electric shock his genital organs.
Document from the labor camp
Document from the labor camp
Document of forced labor
Document of forced labor
UNHCR office in Hongkong


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