Forty House Church leaders detained in Henan Province
Posted by radiofreechina on November 28, 2007
One pastor sentenced to 18 months imprisonment for distribution of Christian literature among Muslims in Gansu Province
By Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service
MIDLAND, TEXAS / HENAN & GANSU PROVINCES, CHINA (ANS) — Forty church leaders from China Gospel Fellowship were detained on November 18, 2007, and a House Church pastor was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment in Gansu province for writing and distributing Christian literatures among Muslim believers.
According to one eyewitness, cited in a report from China Aid Association (www.chinaaid.org), at 5:00 pm on November 18, a group of Public Security Bureau (PSB) officers from Xiancheng county, Henan raided a House Church leadership meeting in Peichang village, Fanhu town.
CAA says the PSB detained 40 leaders immediately. 21 of them were released before November 24, and 19 are still being detained at the county detention center.
Family members of the 19 detainees were notified by the Police Department to send blankets and 360 yuan ($50) for 15 days’ living expenses. All of the detainees are senior leaders from one of China’s largest house church groups called China Gospel Fellowship (CGF).
Among them, Pastor Shen Yiping is the founder of CGF. The leaders were having a bible study when they were raided. They are from different counties of Henan province.
CAA has also learned that Pastor Liu Huiwen was sentenced to 18 months of prison by Gansu Dongxiang Nationality Autonomous County People’s Court on October 25, 2007.
Liu was detained on April 28, 2007 after distributing flyers at a funeral and was arrested on May 31, 2007. The bill of indictment from Dongxiang County Procuratorate charges that defendant Liu Huiwen committed the crime of publishing a discriminating work and insulting people of ethnic minorities when he distributed a flyer called “A Letter to Our Muslim Friends.”
Click here for the full text of the sentence paper: http://www.monitorchina.org/english_site/document_details.php?id=5125
The defense counsel for pastor Liu, Beijing attorney Li Dunyong countered that Liu’s public letter does not contain any discrimination or insults against people of ethnic minorities; that it was not intended for the people of ethnic minorities; that Liu Huiwen does not have any subjective intent to insult the people of ethnic minorities; that it is a case of minor circumstance and that the conduct of the defendant has not exceeded the boundary set for freedom of speech though the letter contains some inappropriate wording. All these arguments by the defense were rejected by the court.
China Aid believes the trial of Pastor Liu Huiwen was not fair and the 18-month heavy sentence of Pastor Liu Huiwen for distributing a flyer whose content was “all legal is a barbarious attempt by the Chinese authorities to stem the growth of Christianity that is expanding in China.”
China Aid also urges Christians worldwide and governments concerned about this case to pressure the Chinese authorities to retry the case through strict and accurate interpretation of the relevant Chinese law.
Letters to comfort brother can be sent to his home:
Premier Wen Jiabao, PRC
PO Box 1741, The State Council, Beijing, PRC (zip code 100017)
Ms. Wu Aiying, minister of Ministry of Justice of PRC
Address：No. 10, Nan Da Jie, Chaoyangmen, Beijing City (Zip Code: 100020)