By BosNewsLife Asia Service

Pastor was released but there remains international concern over detained Christians in China.
Pastor was released but there remains international concern over detained Christians in China.

BEIJING, CHINA (BosNewsLife)– Seven members of a house church in China’s Henan province spent Sunday, June 2, behind bars after they were sentenced to long prison terms on charges of “cult activity”, a leading rights activist told BosNewsLife.

Bob Fu, president of the China Aid Association (CAA), said among those detained was the pastor and even “a few ladies who were making copies of the sermons”.

He said 60-year-old church leader Han Hai was sentenced to 7.5 years imprisonment, while fellow Christian from Singapore Hu Linpu, 49, received a seven year sentence.

Zhang Mian, the owner of the home where the church services took place, was told to serve four years behind bars, while Cao Xia, who is is in her 50s, got a 3.5 years sentence, Fu told BosNewsLife. Yang Lianbing, 23, as well as two women in their 20s, Wang En and Li Dan, were each sentenced to three years imprisonment, he added.

“Their defense lawyers received the verdict and sentencing papers just last week,” Fu explained.


He said CAA is raising financial support to appeal the sentences amid concerns about the fairness of the trial. However, “It’s unclear whether or not these sentences can be appealed” but CAA “is looking into each case,” he confirmed.

The Christians were among over 50 Christians who were detained on April 14 last year when a massive police force raided their house church of Dianying village, located in Henan’s Ye county and city of Pingdingshan.

“You might remember last year the officials raided the house church where 54 young people were quietly attending a Bible study class. Suddenly, more than 200 police and government officials surrounded the meeting place and took all the students away, including a mother and her one-year-old infant,” explained Fu, who is in close contacts with the believers.

He said the “entire police force” of Ye county, including “officials from the township government, armed police, fire brigade, and anti-terrorism police” were involved in the action. “Police were also equipped with two water cannons. In addition, the Pingdingshan Public Security Bureau and officers from the police stations of two neighboring townships also assisted in the raid.”


Fu complained that the Ye county Public Security Bureau, part of China’s main law enforcement agency, has “repeatedly refused to produce the legally required paperwork to the family” of the detainees.

“The relatives learned through private connections that the Public Security Bureau has already formally arrested the Christians and criminally detained them on charges of “suspicion of organizing a cult to undermine national law enforcement.”

Cult charges are often leveled against house church Christians at a time when China’s Communist Party has expressed concern about the spread of uncontrolled Christianity in the country.

Many of the estimated 130 million devoted Christians in the country prefer to worship outside the official state-backed churches. Reported police harassment have forced believers deeper underground with many meeting in what are known as ‘house churches’ across the country, often in homes of individual believers or other accommodations.

Chinese officials were not immediately available for comment, but the government has denied human rights abuses in the past, saying Christians are free to worship in the official churches.

(BosNewsLife, the first truly independent news agency covering persecuted Christians, is ‘Breaking the News for Compassionate Professionals’ since 2004). 

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