China Aid Association
(ZHEJIANG – June 18, 2009) On March 4, Shen Zhuke, a Christian charged with protesting the government’s forced demolition of Dangshanwan Christian Church building in Xiaoshan, Zhejiang province, was given an early release from prison after serving two years and seven months.
On July 29, 2006, the Xiaoshan government demolished Dangshanwan Church on the grounds that it was in violation of some building codes. However, the real reason behind the demolition was to prevent the house church from meeting. After the demolition, Shen Zhuke, along with seven other Christians were detained, and held legally liable for organizing to build an illegal building and for inciting people to resist the implementation of the law. On December 22, 2006, Shen Zuke was sentenced to three years and six months by the Xiaoshan District Court of Hangzhou Municipality, and was imprisoned in Zhejiang Provincial Women’s Prison.
Attorney Li Jianqiang, Shen Zhuke’s defense lawyer, sent a letter to Wu Bangguo, head of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress during the National People’s Congress and the Chinese Political Consultative Conference about the Xiaoshan religious incident. He believes that the two levels of the court in Hangzhou municipality and Xiaoshan District violated the law in the sentencing and imprisoned innocent Christians, causing serious adverse impact in the international community. Attorney Li suggested that the National People’s Congress start a supervisory procedure on individual cases and become involved in the investigation of this case.
At this time, all eight Christians who were arrested in the same case have been released from prison. The Christians are: Shen Zhuke, Shen Chengyi, Wang Weiliang, Ni Weimin, Guo Lijun, Shen Jianjian and Luo Bingliang. Four Christians, Shen Zhuke, Wang Weiliang, Feng Guangliang, Luo Bingliang, were sentenced to imprisonment ranging from one year to three years and six months. Shen Chengyi, Ni Weimin, Guo Lijun and Shen Jianjian were sentenced to one year to three years of probation.
The Dangshanwan Christian Church building that was demolished has still not been approved for rebuilding. On March 2, 2009, an ethnic and religious working conference was convened in Zhejiang and Xia Baolong, Deputy Secretary of Zhejiang Provincial Party Committee, proposed that they should conscientiously implement and carry out the Party’s basic principle in religious affairs; respect freedom of belief; strengthen management based on law and resolutely fight against infiltration.
ChinaAid urges Deputy Secretary Xia Baolong to put action to his statements on religious freedom, and to allow Danshanwan Christian Church to construct their building, and also to publically apologize and compensate the eight Christians wrongfully imprisoned.
ChinaAid together with Shen Zhuke and her family, thank all those around the world who prayed and advocated on their behalf.