Buddhist Master Threatened after Performing Rituals for Victims of Tiananmen Square Massacre

Human Rights in China (www.hrichina.org), Aug 28, 2006

Beijing, China -- A Buddhist master, who had participated in the pro-democracy movement in 1989, was threatened by local authorities that he would be expelled from his temple for performing a releasing from suffering ritual for the souls of the victims who died in the Tiananmen Square Massacre.

His name is Shengguan. He now resides in Huacheng Temple of Yichun City in the Jiangxi Province. His original name was Xu Zhiqiang and he was one of the student leaders in Xian City in 1989.

According to the source, Shengguan and some pilgrims from Beijing, Shenzheng City and Yuchun City held a service on June 4 of this year for those who had died in the Tiananmen Square Massacre. The government of Yuchun City and other related authorities paid great attention to it.

On August 19, the secretary of the Yuchun government Mr. He, the head of Yuchun Religious Bureau (Yang Xu) and seven personnel from the security agencies went to Huacheng Temple to deliver the message to Shengguan. "We represent the government. You must leave Huacheng Temple. You have two choices: one is that you leave voluntarily without losing face. The other one is that we use the law to force you to leave. You should know what it means," they said.

In the afternoon, two police, without complying with any legal procedure, arrested a female lay Buddhist from Huancheng Temple and kept her in custody for nine hours. She was released the next morning. She said the police beat her and forced her to frame Shengguan by saying she had an affair with him.

Shengguan Master, original name is Xu Zhiqiang, graduated from the University of Science and Technology in China in 1984. In 1989, he organized protests in Xian City and formed the Xian Association of Pro-democracy, in which he served as a vice president. In June 1989, he went to Beijing to mourn those who died. He was arrested in Xian City on November 17 and detained in the Sha'anxi Detention Center. After he was released on September 1, 1990, he continued to participate in the pro-democracy movement.

In 2002, he cloistered himself to be a monk but kept on defending human rights. In September 2004, Shengguan represented Falun Gong practitioner Wu Yunrui in suing Jiang Zeming (the ex-president of China), charging him with crimes of depriving citizens' religious freedom and abusing his power to persecute Falun Gong. In August 2005, he taught World History of Buddhism at Jiangxi Buddhist College. On January 20, 2006, he became the master of Huacheng Temple.

Since 2003, Shengguan master was harassed and inspected many times by Security agencies. He, along with other student leaders, who were also involved in the 1989 incident, organized a Buddhist Foundation in Binzhou City just to be later expelled from Binzhou. A director of the Religious Bureau in Guiyang County said to Shengguan, "You may prostitute, drink, gobble or gamble, but you shall not take action against the Communist Party".

In 2005, after his meeting with Mr. Li Zhuming, the Chairman of the Democratic Party in Hong Kong, he was warned by the security personnel in Shenzhen City, "If you don't listen to the government, you will not have a good future."

Shengguan is now under close watch by the Religious Bureau and the Security Agencies.