China Aid Association
(BEIJING — April 7, 2009) Shi Weihan, who has been in prison since March 19, 2008 for printing and distributing Christian books and Bibles without government permission, will stand trial at the People’s Court of Haidan District, Beijing on April 9 at 9 a.m. local time.
Over the past months, several scheduled court appearances have been postponed. Shi Weihan’s official charge is for “illegal business practices,” however, a judge has held, at least twice, that there is not sufficient evidence to convict him on this charge. Nevertheless, police have continued to hold Shi Weihan in order collect additional evidence to gain a conviction.
Sources report that Shi Weihan did sign a confession stating that he had printed books and Bibles without government permission, but that they had been given away as gifts, not sold. Therefore, his actions did not constitute “illegal business practices.”
According to ChinaAid sources, in the confession Shi Weihan stated that his reason for printing the books was that many churches and Christians lacked Bibles and Christian literature which made them vulnerable to cults. Sources say Shi Weihan also stated that he had observed the change that occurred wherever the books and Bibles were available; how people’s lives were transformed and that they became better citizens. Because of that, Shi Weihan maintained that what he had done was with honorable motives and was also good for China.
ChinaAid sources reported, “Shi’s character and good influence on the other prisoners has apparently been noted by prison officials, and he reportedly has had some favor in that setting, although the conditions have been difficult and his health has suffered. Pray that the judge recognizes what the officials in the prison have [recognized] — that Shi Weihan is a man of great mercy and compassion, that he is a blessing to China.”
Currently, Shi Weihan’s wife is bearing much of the burden for the family. According to friends, her main concern is caring for their two daughters and continuing the house church work. Authorities continue to pressure the family. ChinaAid calls all Christians and concerned individuals in the international community to speak out on behalf of Shi Weihan and request his immediate release.
To request the immediate release of Shi Weihan, please contact the following government authorities:
Tang Long, City of Beijing Deputy Secretary General of the Municipal People’s Government
Liu Jianchao, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Director of Information Department
Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong
2300 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
Tel: (202) 328-2500
Fax: (202) 495-2138
China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
Email: [email protected]