Christian Times: Chinese woman receives three-year sentence for holding Bible study

Thursday, January 5, 2017

The Christian Times
Kaye Garcia
04 January, 2017

■ A Christian woman from Xinjiang, China, was sentenced to three years in prison for holding a Bible study.

Ma Huichao received the sentence on Dec. 30, and her lawyer, Li Dunyong, was not permitted to plead innocent on her behalf, according to China Aid. The woman stood trial in mid-November after being arrested, along with four other Christians, by Chinese authorities for "gathering a crowd to disturb public order." She does not plan to appeal her case.

Ma's arrest is just one of the cases of Christian persecution and human rights abuses in the XinJian region.

In October 2016, China Aid also reported that a Christian couple, Dai and his wife, Li, were detained for displaying a cross in their house in Xinjiang. Authorities also searched their home, which was being used to host a house church, and confiscated religious items.

Christians attend a Sunday service at Shouwang Church in
Beijing. (Reuters/Petar Kujundzic)
A few months earlier, two women, Zhou Yanhua and Gao Ming, who are members of Yining County Church also from the same region, were arrested for educating teenagers about religious and superstitious beliefs.

Christian persecution is not limited in the Xinjiang region. In China, a communist country, authorities have been going after underground or non-state sanctioned churches and religious gatherings. The past few years saw the arrest of numerous followers and preachers of the Christian faith for "disturbing public order."

The crackdown on non-government sanctioned Christian organizations was further legitimized with the implementation of the Revised Draft of Regulations on Religious Affairs starting October 2016. The regulation further mandated against "organising citizens to attend religious training, conferences and activities abroad." The acts of "preaching, organizing religious activities, and establishing religious institutions or religious sites at schools," and "providing religious services through the internet" are also not permitted, The Christian Post reports.

Between October and November, several arrests have been made of people suspected of engaging in "evil cults" activities. Those arrested, however, turned out to be Christians who said they knew nothing about the accusations hurled against them.

ChinaAid Media Team
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