05 Jan Chinese Christian Asylum Granted in Removal Proceedings
Our firm has represented many Chinese Christians in their applications for asylum due to persecution from the Chinese government for their practice of religion. Most of our clients come from poor villages in China. Our most recent victory in Immigration Court came when a Philadelphia Immigration Judge granted asylum to our client, a middle aged Chinese man who is a member of a Christian church in Philadelphia. He became a Christian later in life after meeting a pastor who owned a store that he as doing business with. This man invited him to attend his house church and introduced our client to the Bible and the Christian religion. He began attending church regularly, and also attended a Government registered church to see what that was like. As many of you know, churches in China are required to register with the Government, and if they do not, the Government considers them to be illegal. Many unregistered house churches are shut down by the police and their members are arrested, imprisoned, and even beaten by the police. Christianity has become more accepted in China, but the Government seems to be allowing it to expand only through Government registered churches. When our client attended a Government chuch, he learned that the pastor preached obedience to the Government and told the church members that it was important for them to follow the One Child Policy. Our client decided that these ideas were not religious and that they were not appropriate for discussion in church. For these reasons, he decided to only attend the unregistered house church even though it was illegal. After he had attended church for about five months, police learned of the house church, and came one Sunday to shut it down. The police confiscated the church members’ bibles, arrested them, and took them to the police station. They were questioned one by one before being required to sign a statement promising to never attend church meetings again. After that, the church members decided that it was too dangerous to hold meetings at the same house as before, and for that reason, our client agreed to allow the chuch to hold meetings at his own house. Holding meetings at his own house took a lot of courage, but our client had become very dedicated to his religion, and was willing to accept the consequences. Unfortunately, the police eventually discovered that our client was holding church meetings on Sunday evenings. When they came to the house, he was able to help his fellow church members escape through the back door. Our client was arrested by the police and he was detained, questioned, and even beaten before being released 10 days later. Before leaving China, he was forced to report to the Government once a week, and police came to his house many times, embarrassing him and his family. He left China soon after, and came to our office to apply for asylum. Now that he has been granted asylum, his wife and child will be able to join him to live in the U.S. and we are helping him prepare petitions for them which we will be filing by next week. The first immigrants to the U.S., known as the Pilgrims, came from England to escape religious persecution just as our client did. Americans do not always realize that the stories of today’s immigrants are not very different from the stories of their ancestors who immigrated to this country from their homeland many years ago.