By BosNewsLife News Center
BEIJING, CHINA (BosNewsLife) -- A Chinese Christian who was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment last November for distributing Christian leaflets among Muslims is mistreated in a Muslim-majority prison, a Christian news agency reported Tuesday, March 18.
Liu Huiwen, who was sentenced in Gansu province, is limping badly and looks very thin, Compass Direct quoted his wife Miao Hui Lian as saying. She spoke after a recent prison visit, which is allowed only twice a month, the agency said. Huiwen reportedly told his wife that the prison was a “very bad place” and that he was being "bullied constantly."
There was no immediate reaction from Chinese authorities, who have consistently denied religious rights abuses in the Communist-run nation.
Liu, 39, was arrested on April 28, 2007 after distributing a leaflet entitled “A Letter To Our Muslim Friends” during a funeral in Manping Groupin Ketuo village, part of the Dongxiang Autonomous Region, a Muslim-majority ethnic area in Gansu province.
Villagers immediately reported Liu to police, Christians said. They have alleged that Liu was beaten before being detained at the Dongxiang police station. He was held for several months in a nearby town during which police allegedly would not allow family members, including Liu’s wife, to visit him.
In September, the Dongxiang County Procuratorate charged Liu with publishing literature that "discriminated against and insulted people of ethnic minorities."
Court evidence reportedly included a copy of the Gospel leaflet, the contract with the printer, and testimony from several Muslim witnesses, according to a China Aid Association (CAA), a major religious rights group.
Liu’s defense team said the leaflet did not contain any discriminating remarks or insults against ethnic minorities and that the distribution of the Christian materials was a minor incident. His lawyer reportedly said Liu had not overstepped the boundaries of freedom of speech outlined in Chinese law.
The leaflet reportedly spoke of Jesus Christ as "the only person in this world who overcame sin and death" and appealed to Muslims to turn to Christ. Judges rejected the defense argument, sentencing him to 18 months of imprisonment. As the court counted previous time already served, he is due to be released October 27 this year.
Relatives have expressed concerns however that many of the prison guards and inmates are Muslims, which they claim could lead to more mistreatment in prison. Liu’s wife, who is reportedly under police surveillance, was quoted as saying that without intervention her husband’s well-being could be severely impaired.
She and their 4-year-old son are living with Liu’s parents, as she has no income to support herself during his imprisonment, Christians said. Liu became a Christian in December 1995. The couple moved from Lanzhou to Dongxiang in October 2004.
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