two years imprisonment, representatives confirmed. US-based advocacy group China Aid Association (CAA), which has close contacts with reportedly persecuted believers in China said Beijing house church activist Hua Huiqi’s 77-year-old mother, Shuang Shuying, was sentenced by Beijing Chongwen District People’s Court on February 26 on charges "of willfully damaging public and private property."
CAA told BosNewsLife in a statement that the court "only spent an hour hearing this case" before making the ruling. Efforts by the defense team were allegedly hampered by the timing of the court hearing. "Since the trial date was set on the first working day after the Chinese New Year period, her lawyer was not able to collect any evidence to defend her," CAA said.
Shuang was arrested last month when she walked to Beijng’s Chongwen district office to seek information about the whereabouts of her son, pastor Hua Huiqi, who was detained January 26. Hua is an active house church Christian in Beijing, CAA said.
"He has been passionately serving the ministry and assisting lots of persecuted Christians and oppressed peasants," the group claimed. The Chinese Communist government had been "seeking opportunities to take revenge against this family for their active support of the oppressed," CAA said.
"We are shocked by the injustice done to this elder Christian lady," said CAA President Bob Fu, a former coworker of Hua. "it definitely represents a new low…in China and especially in Beijing itself, which is the host city of 2008 Summer Olympics."
Chinese officials were not immediately available for comments, but China’s Communist government has denied human rights abuses. It says Christians are free to worship in the official state-run churches. However human rights groups claim that most Christians prefer to worship outside government interference. They often gather in what are known as ‘house churches’ as they are often held in homes of believers.