Report: Chinese police beat, detain church leader as legislative session convenes

BEIJING (AP) Police beat a leader of an underground Christian church and his wife during a campaign to stifle dissent during the annual meeting of China’s legislature, a human rights group alleged Saturday.

Beijing police deployed 1,000 officers to control dissidents as the National People’s Congress opened its session on Friday, Human Rights in China said. It cited unidentified sources in Beijing.

Hua Huiqi, a church leader and housing activist, was taken to a police station on Friday and badly beaten after he complained that he was being illegally held under “effective house arrest,” the rights group said in a statement.

Hua was taken to a hospital, the group said. While his elderly parents were visiting him there, it said, police ransacked their home and the family returned to find cash and a bank book for an account holding the parents’ life savings missing.

When Hua and his wife, Wei Jumei, complained to police in their home district of Fengtai about the missing money, officers beat both of them, hitting Wei so hard that she lost a tooth, the rights group said.

A police officer who answered the phone Saturday at the Fengtai police station denied that the incident occurred.

Another dissident, Zhang Chunzhu, has been detained at a Beijing hotel since Tuesday, while police watched the home of Jia Jianying, the wife of detained dissident He Depu, the group said.

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