By Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service
HENAN, CHINA (ANS) — A house church leader in Henan province, Pastor Zhu Baoguo, has been sentenced to one year of “re-education through labor,” accused of being an “evil cult” leader.
China Aid Association (CAA) says that on October 12, 2008 five church leaders were detained during a church gathering of about 20 people at Dushu village, Yuguang town, Neixiang county, Nanyang city, Henan province.
Pastor Zhu received 15 days of administrative detention, while the other four leaders were sentenced to five days. However, on October 30, two days after Pastor Zhu was released from his 15-day administrative detention at the Detention Center of Neixiang County, Pastor Zhu was sentenced to one year of re-education through labor.
CAA says he was charged with being a member of “an evil cult.” Zhu was immediately sent to a labor camp. His family and church members have not been able to determine where he is being held. According to his family members, Pastor Zhu suffers from heart disease.
“To arbitrarily detain and sentence an innocent house church pastor is a direct violation of the Chinese Constitution and related international human rights covenants guaranteeing Chinese citizens’ religious freedom. It also contradicts the Chinese government’s repeated claim for protecting religious freedom in the spirit of rule of law,” said Bob Fu, President of ChinaAid.
“We call upon the Chinese government to release Pastor Zhu immediately.”
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