Monday, August 1, 2011

Chinese pastor sentenced to labour camp

Pastor Shi Enhao, vice-president of the Chinese House Church Alliance,
has been sentenced to two years of “re-education” in a labour camp.
(Photo: ChinaAid)
Earlier this month, we reported the case of Pastor Shi Enhao, the vice-president of the Chinese House Church Alliance. Pastor Shi was first arrested in March and has since faced re-arrests and beatings before being taken to an undisclosed location.

VOM’s partner, ChinaAid, is now reporting that Pastor Shi has been sentenced to two years of “re-education through labour.” This sentence is handed out by police and requires no trial or conviction of a crime.

Pastor Shi, who helps lead a house church of thousands of people who meet in various sites, is reportedly charged with “illegal meetings and illegal organizing of venues for religious meetings.”

Police have threatened the pastor’s wife and three daughters and ordered his church to stop meeting. Musical instruments, choir robes, and 140,000 Yuan (around $20,500 CAD) in donations have been confiscated.

ChinaAid says the case has significance in relation to the events unfolding around the Shouwang Church in Beijing. After being evicted from its rented building in April, the large house church decided to meet publicly outdoors. The congregation has continued to face opposition from authorities (for more information, click here).

Critics of the Shouwang Church say clashes with authorities could be avoided by meeting in smaller groups. However, the results of Pastor Shi’s case clearly demonstrate that this strategy does not guarantee freedom for house church members.

For ChinaAid’s full report, click here.

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