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United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
April 10, 2018, Argued and Submitted, Pasadena, California; July 30, 2018, Filed
[*1210] BYBEE, Circuit Judge:
Petitioner Zhihui Guo is a Chinese citizen who entered the United States in 2010 on a student visa and stayed beyond its duration. He seeks review of the Board of Immigration Appeals' ("BIA") denial of his claims for asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention Against Torture ("CAT"). In mid-2010, Chinese police arrested Petitioner3 for attending a Christian "home church," eventually beating him with a baton and detaining him for two days. Under the terms of his release, Petitioner could never again attend his home church and was required to report to the police weekly to verify his compliance.
[*1211] The BIA concluded that these oppressive conditions did not rise to the level of religious persecution, portraying the harm Petitioner suffered as "a single, isolated encounter with the authorities." We are compelled to disagree. By forbidding Petitioner [**3] from attending his home church, the Chinese police prevented him from practicing his faith and did so through coercive means. The harm Petitioner suffered was therefore ongoing and, under our asylum precedent, compelled a finding of past persecution. We therefore grant the petition for review and remand to the BIA in order for it to apply the rebuttable presumption that Petitioner will experience further persecution if returned to China.
I. FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS BELOW
Petitioner was born in 1990 in Putian, a city in China's Fujian Province. He and his mother began attending a local Christian home church in September 2009, after a neighbor began sharing her beliefs with them. The congregation was comprised of about twenty members, who would meet at the lead member's home. Petitioner and his mother attended Sunday services every week, where the congregation would sing hymns, share testimonies, and pray together.
In May 2010, five police officers entered one of these services and stated that they had received reports that the congregation was conducting illegal activities. The police confiscated the Bibles, hymn books, and religious CDs and then drove the entire group to a police station. [**4] After the group was collectively processed for several hours, the police took Petitioner to an individual interrogation room. Two police officers then asked Petitioner why he was engaging in "anti-government" activity. He responded that his group was a church and that they were not antigovernment. An officer then slapped Petitioner twice in the face. He protested this treatment, telling the officer it was illegal. The officer then took out his baton and struck Petitioner eight or nine times on his arms, thighs, and back for one to two minutes. Afterwards, Petitioner could not stand by himself, and the officers brought him to a cell, where he remained for the next two days.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
897 F.3d 1208 *; 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 20987 **; 2018 WL 3614045
ZHIHUI GUO, Petitioner, v. JEFFERSON B. SESSIONS III, Attorney General, Respondent.
Prior History: [**1] On Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals. Agency No. A201-200-204.
persecution, church, attending, beating, asylum, religious, removal, religion, withholding, arrested, police station, congregation, authorities, detention, tortured, required to report, interrogation, detained, forcing, severe, baton
Immigration Law, Asylum, Refugees & Related Relief, Asylum, Judicial Review, Eligibility for Asylum, Refugee Status, Eligibility for Refugee Status, Judicial Proceedings, Judicial Review, Scope of Review, Convention Against Torture