Radio Free China

Human Rights and Religious Freedom News

Two House Church leaders sentenced to one-year re-education through labor in Shandong; One more church leader detained in Shanxi Province.

Posted by radiofreechina on July 8, 2007

By Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

MIDLAND, TEXAS (ANS) — China Aid Association (www.chinaaid.org) has learned that two House Church leaders were sentenced to a year of re-education through labor on June 29 in Shandong Province. According to official notification papers sent to family members, the two church leaders have been sent to Re-education through Labor Camp of Jining City of Shandong province to serve their sentence.

China Aid says the paper issued by Re-education through Labor (Lao Jiao) Management Committee of the People’s Government of Heze City said pastor ZHANG Geming and pastor SUN Qingwen were accused using an evil cult to obstruct the law. Their re-education through labor time starts from June 29, 2007 and ends on June 14, 2008.

House church sources report that both pastors are evangelical missionaries sent from Henan to Shandong province. They were detained on June 15 along with 4 other local church leaders when they had a worship service together. The 4 local pastors were released on July 1 after being forced to pay 10000yuan ($1300) fine.

Meanwhile, in Shanxi province, two forcibly-held church leaders are likely to be sentenced to re-education through labor soon.
Pastor Zhou Jieming and pastor Niu Wenbin have been accused as “suspects of using an evil cult to obstruct of the law” and put in criminal detention since June 10.

On June 9, 2007, the two ministers — along with 12 other church leaders — were detained while they were distributing Bibles in a market place in Jiaocheng county, Shanxi province. Four of them were eventually released on the same day. Six more church leaders were released on June 15 from their detention center without any legal papers or explanation from the Public Security Bureau.

On June 29 one more church leader was detained and sentenced to 10 days administrative detention. According to reliable sources, Ms. GAO Qiuxiang(54-year-old) who is the wife of the senior pastor ZHANG Tuanyuan (who is currently in hiding) of Jiaocheng House church was detained when she went to the PSB office along with the six released leaders seeking official explanation paper.

According to CAA investigators’ interviews, five of the female leaders were beaten up and abused by the PSB during their five days detention and interrogation time.

CAA appeals to the Chinese authorities to unconditionally release these 5 innocent house church leaders in Shandong and Shanxi.

Inquires and concerns can be raised to the following Chinese government officials:

Mr. WU Heping deputy Chief of Staff, Ministry of Public Security 10- 66262549
Mr. WANG Lixian, chief of staff, Ministry of Justice 10- 65206706
Mr. HU Keming, Chief Administrative Secretary, State Council 10- 63097477
Mr. GUO Wei, Director of Foreign Affairs Department, State Administration on Religious Affairs 86 64095157
Mr. LIU Baoju, Deputy Director, Department of Propaganda of Communist Party Shandong province 531-82062258

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