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August 13, 2008 7:08 PM

Beijing 2008: Dissident of the Day

When I started this series, I expected it to be a roundup of dissident who had been put behind bars before the Olympics opening ceremonies began. But there's fresh news of harassment coming out of China every day.

HuiHuiqi.jpgRemember how President Bush planned to go to a state-sanctioned church for services last Sunday? Hua Huiqi wanted to attend, but was arrested on the way there. Here are his own words, in a letter penned to Human Rights in China:

"At 6 a.m. on August 10, I was on my way to Kuanjie Protestant Church to worship when I was intercepted by police working on religious affairs from Chongwen District. State Security police officer Bai Ying led 7-8 plainclothes officers who beat me and dragged me and my brother Hua Huilin into two separate cars.

The police brought us to their office in the Hong Kong New World Group building and interrogated us. They asked me why I was going to Kuanjie Protestant Church to worship and threatened me, saying, 'You are not allowed to go to Kuanjie Protestant Church because President Bush is going there today. If you [try to] go again, we will break your legs. We brought you here to wait for orders from our superiors. We shall see how they want to deal with you.'

They confiscated my Bible and thereupon began their watch over me. I prayed. After about 4 or 5 hours, when I saw that the people who were watching me had all fallen asleep, I fled. But I'm afraid to go home.

Hua is reportedly pastor of a "house church" -- one not sanctioned by the Communist government -- and has repeatedly been threatened, imprisoned, and beaten over the past 20 years. His 76-year-old mother is serving a two-year sentence for appealing one of Hua's past detentions.

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