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    » 07/26/2011, 00.00

    CHINA

    Forced labour for Christian Pastor Shi for praying with the faithful



    Enhao Shi was arrested weeks ago for practicing his faith even against the prohibitions of the law. He was sentenced without trial or defence. China has in place a harsh crackdown on all "unofficial" Christians, who refuse to sign up to State church.
    Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Pastor Enhao Shi, Vice President of Chinese House Church Alliance (CHCA), was sentenced in the city of Suqian (Jiangsu) to 2 years of re-education-through-labour (Laogai), in short forced labour. For months, China has been implementing a strict crackdown against house churches, arresting anyone who even stops to pray.

    Shi was arrested and detained by police 31marzo for 12 days (see AsiaNews, 6.6.2001, Arrest of Shouwang Christians and other believers relentless). He was arrested again June 21 as "suspected of using superstition to undermine law enforcement," which is a serious crime in China. Instead, the sentence at the Laogai was imposed administratively, without trial and without the assistance of a lawyer.

    The CHCA is a major "house churche" in China, with several thousand followers. In recent months, public safety has ordered the group to suspend all kinds of meetings and confiscated vehicles, musical equipment and about 140 thousand Yuan, almost 16 thousand Euros, the proceeds of donations. The police also threatened Shi’s three daughters and their husbands.

    For months, the authorities have been persecuting these groups, preventing them even from meeting to pray. In April the authorities in Beijing drove the Church of Shouwang from their place they met to pray. The faithful began to gather to pray in a public square, giving notice on their internet site. Police would intervene each Sunday to arrest anyone who came and bring them to the police station for hours, later releasing them. On some Sundays hundreds of faithful were put under house arrest. Months later Shouwang faithful are still under house arrest and forbidden to gather.

    In China there are more unofficial Protestant Christians (80 million) than members of the Three-Self Movement (20 million). Lest the situation get out of the Party’s control, for almost four years now a campaign to eliminate the underground communities or merge them into the official community has been underway.
    The series of arrests of Protestant Christians coincides with a series of arrests of democracy activists and human rights lawyers. Beijing fears that any movement not controlled by the Party could trigger a "jasmine revolution" similar to the one that is rocking the North Africa and the Middle East. This fear is caused by the fact that many human rights activists have converted to Christianity

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    See also

    16/05/2011 CHINA
    Persecution mounts against the Church of Shouwang
    Police yesterday arrested the faithful gathered in the square to pray for the 6th consecutive week. Dozens of followers are now under arrest at home every weekend. Meanwhile, dozens of the faithful are losing their job or home, under pressure from the authorities. But the case is becoming international.

    23/05/2011 CHINA
    Shouwang Christians will not give up, they pray in public and the police arrest them
    For the seventh consecutive Sunday, police arrest the faithful, including elderly and children, one only 2 years old. Experts say the authorities may ban the group and the incarcerate leader. Beijing seems determined to crush any dissent, particularly religious.

    16/01/2009 CHINA
    Beijing does not recognize domestic churches, and persecutes them
    Last Christmas, there were demolitions of buildings and arrests of the faithful of domestic Christian churches. But the authorities are trying to pass everything off in silence.

    09/05/2011 CHINA
    More arrests, more persecution for Shouwang underground Christians
    Yesterday at least 15 people arrested. From April 10, hundreds of Christians arrested because they tried to pray in public, after the government took away the use of their rented premises. The imprisoned faithful are "happy" to pray in prison and "preach the gospel to the guards." The government's religious policy is considered "obsolete" by Chinese academics. Beijing fears a "jasmine revolution", as many activists have converted to Christianity.

    06/06/2011 CHINA
    Arrest of Shouwang Christians and other believers relentless
    Yesterday, 20 more members of the Church of Shouwang were arrested, some of their leaders are under house arrest for over two months. Beijing wants to suppress any religious activity outside the control of the Communist Party.



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