Beijing Christian Bookstore Owner Rearrested In China

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

By BosNewsLife Asia Service

BEIJING, CHINA (BosNewsLife) -- A bookstore owner in Beijing was still behind bars Saturday, April 19, a month after he was re-arrested for publishing Bibles and Christian literature, his wife said.

Shi Weihan, a 37-year-old father of two, was re-arrested on March 19 and has been held without any family visits allowed, said his wife Zhang Jing in comments released by Christian news agency Compass Direct News.

Chinese authorities were not immediately available for comment. Shi had been released in January due to "insufficient evidence."

He was first detained November 28 till January 4 for selling religious material, his faith in Christ and his refusal to register their unapproved "house church" with authorities, Zhang said earlier in remarks monitored by BosNewsLife.


His wife said she had received no word on her husband’s condition, and has been prohibited from bringing him any food or change of clothing since last month’s re-arrest.

Zhang added she is “very concerned” about her husband’s health, as he has apparently diabetes. Public Security Bureau officials have been known to use deprivation and torture to force detainees to reveal information about others, rights watchers say.

Another bookstore owner, Zhou Heng, was arrested and detained in Xinjiang province on August 3, 2007 for receiving a shipment of Bibles. Zhou revealed last week in a letter seen by BosNewsLife that he had been cleared of charges and was released from prison on February 19.

China is officially atheist and restricts religious practice to state-sanctioned churches and places of worship regulated by authorities.


The government, military and ruling Communist Party discourage officeholders and members from practicing any faith, especially in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics, according to several human rights groups.

Last year the Communist Party reportedly made a historic concession to the fast-growing church movement by saying that "religious believers should be mobilized to make a positive contribution to society."

However in recent months, local churches have noticed a fresh crackdown on especially devoted Christians gathering in unregistered “house churches” across the country.

"House churches" are called this way as they are held in homes of believers who otherwise have no possibility to worship as Chinese officials ban them from official church buildings.

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