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Friday, February 24, 2012

Word News February 24th, 2012

JINMEN, Hubei, China (WordNews.org) Feb. 24, 2012 – A Chinese house church leader and the editor of a newspaper editor has been released five years early, ChinaAid president Bob Fu said.

Li Ying, of the South China Church in Hubei, was released on Christmas day. She’d been sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2002 for “intentional assault.” Fu said a worldwide letter-writing campaign and other international efforts on her behalf helped lead to her release.

Li tearfully told Fu that during her decade in prison, thousands of letters for her were sent to the prison. She said the letters had also helped to significantly improve her prison conditions.

Li was one of the first prisoners featured by the international human rights group Voice of the Martyrs on its www.prisoneralert.com website, where concerned Christians could write letters of encouragement to imprisoned Christians. According to Voice of the Martyrs, more than 11,400 letters were written to Li through the site since 2004.

Li is the niece of Pastor Gong Shengliang, founder of the South China Church, one of the fastest growing house-church movements in China. She was also editor in chief of the church newspaper, South China Special Edition (Huanan Zhuankan). Before her 2002 arrest, she’d been incarcerated several times, including spending one year in prison in 1996.

As a condition of her release, Li was required to sign a guarantee to submit to “community correction,” which included the requirement that she live only in government-appointed neighborhoods and attend government-appointed churches, Fu said.

Li was one of 17 South China Church leaders convicted in December 2001 of “using a cult to undermine enforcement of the law.” Five of those leaders, including Li, were sentenced to death.

Fu said an international outcry led to those death sentences being revoked in September 2002. A retrial resulted in the five being convicted of “intentional assault.”

The other four were: Gong Shengliang, Xu, Fuming, Hu Yong and Gong Bangkun. Gong Shengliang was also convicted of rape, Fu said. Three of them — Gong Shengliang, Xu Fuming, and Hu Yong — were sentenced to life imprisonment. Gong Bangkun and Li Ying were given 15-year prison terms.


China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
Email: r.ritchie@chinaaid.org
Website: www.chinaaid.org

"Bob Fu has dedicated his life to bringing freedom of religion to the Chinese people. His story is a testimony to the power of faith and an inspiration to people struggling to break free from oppression."
—Mrs. Laura Bush

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