Radio Free China

Human Rights and Religious Freedom News

Early release from Hubei Labor Camp for three female House Church leaders

Posted by radiofreechina on January 24, 2008

By Michael Ireland

Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

WUHAN, HUBBEI PROVINCE, CHINA (ANS) In another stunning legal victory, three Chinese female house church leaders have been unconditionally released from their labor camp in Hubei province.

China Aid Association (CAA) says the decision was made at 4:30 PM Beijing time on January 23, and follows on the heals of the January 11, appellate ruling to release four male house church leaders from their labor camp following dismissal of charges from government officials.

CAA says the church leaders were arrested and sentenced to 18 months and 12 months re-education through labor respectively on August 6, 2007 after they were detained on July 15 and accused of the “crime of engaging in organizing and making use of evil cult organization to undermine the enforcement of State laws.”

In an interview with one of the recently released male pastors, China Aid Association was told that the director of the Hubei labor camp made a formal apology to the house church leaders for their wrongful imprisonment.

Furthermore, the director went on to state that he and other officials had learned their lesson and would seek to do a better job in the future. He then expressed to the leaders that they should be patriotic and upright citizens.

The admonition from the director was easy to take for the leaders who find empowerment in their true Christian faith to be the best citizens they are able to be in society.

“The Chinese house church is deeply committed to helping China realize the goal of becoming a ‘Harmonious Society,'” said CAA’s Bob Fu. “The released leaders expressed their gratitude to the labor camp officials for their willingness to discern true Christianity from common criminality and for setting a remarkable precedent of progression towards true religious freedom and rule of law in China.”

The leaders are also thankful to the international community for their efforts and prayers during this time.

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