China Aid Association
Handicapped House Church Pastor Imprisoned in China
A handicapped house church leader in China has been handed a two year prison sentence after printing and distributing Bibles and other Christian literature to fellow believers for free.
by Maria Mackay
Posted: Saturday, October 21, 2006, 12:23 (BST)
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A handicapped house church pastor in China has been sentenced to two years in prison for printing Christian literature, China Aid Association has learned.
Pastor Wang Zaiqing is a prominent house church leader in the Anhui Province. He was sentenced to two years in prison on the charge of “Illegal Business Practices” for printing and distributing Bibles and other Christian literature to fellow believers free of charge.
Pator Zaiqing was arrested by the local PSB on 28 April and formally arrested on 26 June 2006. He was also fined 100,000 Yuan (nearly £7,000) and books and printing funds were also confiscated from the home of the pastor, who was crippled at the age of five.
Wang’s defense lawyer, Mr. Sun Hongye, stated: “First, from a legal stand point, the crime of Illegal Business Practices requires the accused to make a profit, and Wnag Zaiqing’s books were distributed at no cost. So Wang Zaiqing is innocent of this crime.”
“Secondly, the evaluation made by the local News & Publication Bureau that the books printed by Wang Zaiqing were illegal publications, is lacking any legal basis.
The books printed by Wang do not conform to the definition of publication, thus should not be treated as illegal publications.”
The indictment of the local People’s Prosecutor stated that Pastor Zaiqing had violated Chinese Criminal Law Article 225, Items 1 and 4, by printing the Bibles and other Christian literature.
Wang Zaiqing and his attorney have stated that they will not comply with the sentence and will appeal to a higher level People’s Court.
Dr. Li Baiguang, a prominent legal scholar on constitutional law has volunteered to be Pastor Wang’s lawyer. Dr Li is a member of the Association of Human-Rights Attorneys and met with President Bush earlier this year at the White House along with two other house church members.
The President of CAA, Rev Bob Fu said, “This is the third time in recent history that the Chinese government has used a criminal business related charge against a house church pastor. Beijing Pastor Cai Zhuohua was sentenced to three years in prison in 2005 for printing Christian literature. This is typical of the Chinese government to persecute religious leaders by criminalising their religious activities.”
“It’s totally unacceptable for the Chinese authorities to arrest this pious crippled pastor simply for printing Bibles. We appeal to the Archbishop of Canterbury, who will hold a press conference in Beijing Monday, October 23, at the conclusion of his visit to China, to voice his concerns on the situation of religious freedom in China.”
After Wang became a Christian in 1993 he grew to become a very well-known House Church planter and preacher in several provinces around Anhui Province.
CAA is appealing to Christians to contact their country’s Chinese Embassy or Consulate to voice their concern.
China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
Email: [email protected]