Two Chinese Pastors Say Bye to Jail, Spend Christmas at Home

Friday, December 26, 2008

By Success Kanayo Uchime
Special to ASSIST News Service

ZHEJIANG, CHINA (ANS) -- In a good turn of events, two Chinese pastors Wang Weiliang and Zhu Baoguo will be spending this year’s Christmas at home after their miraculous release from jail by the authorities in China for medical reasons.

Release International stated this in a report adding that Pastor Wang is now receiving hospital treatment in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, and was released more than a year early.

It said that he was jailed for three years in December 2006 for protesting when officials demolished a church in Xiaoshan in the July and that six other co-defendants have already been freed, while a woman, Shen Zhuke, is still in prison.

On the other hand according to the report, Pastor Zhu, was arrested at a prayer meeting in Henan province in October, and was sentenced to one year in ‘re-education through labor’ for being an ‘evil cult leader,’ he was also freed on December 2.

The report said that Release International has for the past two weeks identified about 20 Christians in labor camps which they were previously unaware of stating that many other Chinese Christians face the prospect of Christmas in jail.

“In Hubei province, four Christians have not been seen since they were detained by officials in Jingmen and Xiangfan early last month. In Henan province, Mao Minzi has been sentenced to one year’s ‘re-education through labor’ for ‘organizing an illegal religious gathering’ in Xin’an.”

It noted that in place like Henan, and Xiji in Tai Kang County, Shandong, two groups of more than 50 house church Christians were arrested earlier this December and that in Beijing and Hangzhou, four Christians were sent to labor camp for between 12 and 18 months for preaching to students.

Furthermore that in Beijing, the authorities have continued to hound Pastor ‘Bike’ Mingxuan whose Chinese House Church Alliance was officially ‘abolished’ last month. Pastor Bike was arrested at the home of church leader Hua Huiqi late on December 9 and then was driven to Yanjiao, Hebei province, where the officials have tried to compel him to give information on the whereabouts of his fellow church members as a condition for the release of his elderly mother, Shuang.

“They didn’t allow me to live in Beijing. Wherever I go, they monitor my calls,” Pastor Bike said.