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Friday, February 26, 2016

Bao Guohua, Xing Wenxiang and
Bao Chenxing opposed cross
demolitions in Zhejiang province,
such as this one. (Photo: China Aid) 

China Cracks Down on Christian Leaders by Ordering Pastors to Carry 'Nazi-Like' ID Cards

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February 25, 2016|12:59 pm
Believers take part in a weekend mass at an underground Catholic church in Tianjin November 10, 2013.
The Communist Party in China is enforcing a new policy requiring Roman Catholic officials to carry ID cards stating their religious affiliation or risk losing the right to preach. Christian groups say this is another attempt by the regime to thwart the growth of the Christian faith in the country.
Catholic News Site UCA News reported that Buddhist monks are already being required to carry such ID cards, and by the end of the year the same will be expected of Catholic and Taoist priests.
"Protestantism and Islam — the other two of China's five officially recognized religions — will surely face orders to follow suit in the near future," the report suggested.
Persecution watchdog groups, such as International Christian Concern, have called the ID card requirements "Nazi-like."

"ICC is distressed to hear of the Nazi-like identification credentials for Christian leaders in China. Our concern is that this new requirement will force many churches and their leaders underground," said ICC Advocacy Manager Nate Lance.
"It is becoming ever clearer that the communist government and ardent Maoist President Xi Jinping is concerned over the growth of the Christian faith in China. We strongly request that the government rescind these requirements for all faiths, allowing the Chinese people to worship as they please," Lance added.
Religious leaders found without their ID cards will reportedly be banned from engaging in religious activities, said the State Administration for Religious Affairs, which governs religious activity across the world's most populous nation.
There has been an increasingly growing crackdown of churches in China, with a government campaign forcefully removing rooftop crosses from churches in several different provinces, which has led to the arrest of hundreds of activists and church goers.
Earlier in February, the Chinese government also arrested and formally charged Pastor Gu Yuese of Hangzhou's Chongyi Church, the largest government sanctioned church in China. Though Communist Party officials say that Gu is being investigated for embezzling funds, groups such as China Aid have said he is being punished for standing up to the crackdown on churches.
News of the new ID card requirement follows a Human Rights Watch report which highlights the growing problems of religious persecution in China. The report noted that the government's campaign has led to the demolishing of entire churches in Zhejiang Province, considered the heartland of Chinese Christianity.
The Communist Party continues to deny that it is infringing upon the religious freedom rights of its citizens, with party member Li Yunlong writing in China Daily that human rights criticism is "a product of subjective bias and prejudice" with "no foundation in reality."
"In China, all citizens can freely choose their own religious beliefs, express their beliefs and take part in religious activities. The social environment is constantly improving for the prosperity of religion in China, and society has become more and more objective and reasonable toward religions," Li argued.
China Aid President Bob Fu told The Christian Post in an interview earlier this month, however, that the government is very concerned about the growth of Christianity, since Christians now outnumber the members of the Communist Party.
"The top leadership is very increasingly worried about the rapid growth of Christian faith and their public presence, and their social influence," Fu told CP.

China Aid
By Brynne Lawrence

Updated at 1:34 p.m. CST on Feb. 26, 2016

(Jinhua, Zhejiang—Feb. 26, 2016) Officials in China’s coastal Zhejiang province handed 12 Christians prison sentences on Feb. 25 after a pastor and his family publicly opposed the ongoing cross demolition campaign.

Bao Guohua, senior pastor of Jinhua Christian Church, was initially detained on July 26, 2015, along with his wife, Xing Wenxiang, and their son, Bao Chenxing, after they spoke out against forced cross removals occurring across the province. Later, authorities forced them to dismiss their lawyers, and Xing penned letters to family and friends begging them to hire legal aid for her husband on Oct. 20.

On Feb. 25, Bao Guohua and Xing were sentenced to 14 and 12 years in prison, respectively, and Bao Chenxing received a three-year prison sentence. Nine other Christians received sentences of varying lengths.

Below is a report published by the Zhejiang Radio and Television Group and translated and edited by China Aid, reporting the complete sentencing details for Bao and Xing.

China Aid reports abuses, such as those experienced by Bao Guohua, Xing and Bao Chenxing, in order to promote religious freedom and rule of law in China.

Court releases verdict to Bao Guohua in trial of first instance; “impoverished pastor” confessed to collecting money in court
Zhejiang Radio and Television Group
2-25-2015 7:20 p.m.

Today, Bao Guohua, the former leader of Jinhua Christian church, and his wife Xing Wenxiang, along with other essential church staff—of a total of 12 people—were found guilty in the trial of first instance by the Wucheng District Court of Jinhua. Bao Guohua and his wife Xing Wenxiang were found guilty of embezzlement; gathering a crowd to disturb public order; illegal business operations; and concealing accounting documents, accounting books, or financial statements—a total of four crimes. Bao Guohua was sentenced to 14 years in prison, the confiscation of assets totaling 600,000 Yuan [(U.S. $91,850)], and order to pay a fine of 100,000 Yuan [(U.S. $15,300)]. Xing Wenxiang was sentenced to 12 years in prison, the confiscation of assets totaling 600,000 Yuan, and ordered to pay a fine of 90,000 Yuan [(U.S. $13,770)]. The rest received various sentences.

For a long time, Bao Guohua and Xing Wenxiang have been thrifty and had clean. In the trial, the “impoverished pastors” guise was uncovered little by little. The prosecutor accused Bao Guohua and Xing Wenxiang of using their positions as the pastor and managing persons to use cash and a car and occupy a house offered by the church members, [items] which should belong to the church, worth a total of 220,000 Yuan [(U.S. $33,683)] and U.S. $2,000.

In the trial, Bao Guohua, Xing Wenxiang, and the others pleaded guilty and [expressed their] willingness to accept the legal punishment. The other people who participated in the offense successively and incessantly expressed remorse for participating in criminal activity, [which was] caused by their being personally deceived by Bao and Xing.

Source: Zhejiang Television

Editor: Cheng Yazheng

China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985

"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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