by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) - Five Christians in China’s Shanxi province have been sentenced to at least six months in prison for attending a Gospel event in Malaysia in 2020, International Christian Concern reports. China’s communist regime has been progressing a nationwide program of ‘Sinicization’ which involves cracking down hard on Christians in the country.
Zhang Ligong, Wang Runyun, Wang Shiqiang, Zhang Yaowen, and Song Shoushan from Xuncheng Reformed Church were arrested last year after traveling to Malaysia to attend the “KL2020 Gospel and Culture” conference, where leaders such as Pastor Tim Keller and Pastor D.A. Carson spoke, ICC said.
The believers were detained and charged with traveling to Malaysia illegally, although they went on their valid Chinese passports. They were further charged with bringing illegal imports back to China because they had bought a number of books for themselves at the conference.
On January 7, Fenyang city court in Shanxi province sentenced the five Christians to six months, seven months (two of them), and eight months (two of them) respectively, ICC said.
Commenting on the cases, ICC noted that the Chinese Communist Party regime has been suspicious of foreign influence since President Xi Jinping came power.
“Religions that are seen as foreign, such as Islam and Christianity, are treated with more scrutiny and tightened control,” ICC said. Under the latest legal framework, exchange and communication between Chinese churches and overseas Christian communities need to be pre-approved by the government.”