Chengdu Early Rain Church Member Detained for Commemorating Tiananmen

Fu Lijun cautiously posted only music and a prayer on June 4. It was enough to go to jail.

by Qi Junzao

Members of the Early Rain Covenant Church. From Facebook.

While around the world on June 4 many commemorate the anniversary of the bloody June Fourth Incident, i.e., the mass killing of students in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, of June 4, 1989, any remembrance of the event is strictly forbidden in China. Search engines have been manipulated to disable searches for “June Fourth Incident” or “June 4 Tiananmen Square.” Actually, those who commemorate in any way the June 4 Incident may go to jail.

That this is not only a theoretical risk was confirmed by what happened on June 4 this year to Fu Lijun, a member of Chengdu Early Rain Covenant Church, whose Pastor Wang Yi (not a relative of the chief of Chinese Foreign Affairs with the same name) was sentenced to nine years in jail in 2019. Officially, the Early Rain Church has been liquidated, but in fact members continue to meet in private homes, under continuous police harassment.

Jailed Pastor Wang Yi. From Facebook.

In the early morning of June 4, Fu Lijun posted on WeChat Moments music intended to commemorate the June Fourth Incident and a prayer. There was no criticism of the CCP.

However, this was enough to mobilize the police, which acted immediately. At 7 a.m. on June 4, agents of Chengdu National Security Bureau knocked at Fu’s door, and he was taken away.

He was informed that he will be administratively detained for five days, until June 10. This may seem a lesser penalty, although nobody should spend time in jail for posting music and prayers on social media. However, those who have been placed once in administrative detention in China may expect continuous surveillance for years, police harassment, and serious problems in the workplace.