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House Church Pastor in Anhui Arrested for Bible Printing

A house church pastor in Anhui province was arrested for printing and distributing Bibles and Christian literatures by the Chinese government with a criminal business related charge.
( [email protected] ) Jun 16, 2006 07:46 AM EDT

A house church pastor in Anhui province was arrested for printing and distributing Bibles and Christian literatures by the Chinese government with a criminal business related charge.

The 43-year-old disabled Pastor Wang Zaiqing from Huainan City, Anhui Province, was formally arrested May 26 after receiving the formal arrest warrant issued by the city’s Domestic Security Protection Squad of the Public Security Bureau, according to the Texas-based Chinese Christian Watchdog China Aid Association (CAA).

Wang is now being detained at No. 1 Detention Center of Huainan City suspected of "being involved in illegal business practices." His case is similar to the very high-profile case of Pastor Cai Zhuohua in Beijing, who was sentenced to three years imprisonment for printing Christian literature last year.

According to CAA, Wang was first summoned for questioning April 25 for one day by the city’s police. The police claimed that Wang has broken the law on the document named "Notice on Preventing and Dealing with Illegal Activities by Using Christianity" [88 Zong Fa Zi No. 385] issued in October 1988 by the national Department of Public Security and the State Administration on Religious Affairs (SARA).

There are six regulations on this document. First of all, churches or Christian groups’ activities that may cause social disorders are banned; secondly, printing, selling and distributing Christian literatures and Bibles without the consent of the government are prohibition; thirdly, all groups or individuals are not allowed to listen and record gospel broadcasting from overseas or distributing religious literatures that are smuggled illegally; fourthly, no groups of individual should organize Christian theological institutes or training activities without the approval of the authorities; fifthly, citizens are not allowed to organize groups or membership activities under the instruction, support and financial aid of some foreign religious groups; lastly, all religious gatherings, propagation activities and distribution of religious materials are prohibited unless approval is granted by the authorities.

CAA commented in its press statement that it is a "secret document" that many Christians have never heard of. In addition, the regulations have violated the religious freedom of Chinese citizens as promised in the national constitution.

Dr. Li Baiguang, a prominent legal scholar on constitutional law has volunteered to be Pastor Wang’s lawyer. Dr Li met with President Bush on May 11 in the White House along with two other house church members.

On April 25-26, Pastor Wang’s house was searched twice and a number of items were confiscated including Christian literature such as Hymnals, Christian Life Quarterly magazine, Why Believe Jesus, Chinese Church History, Pauline Epistles and bank cards as well as an electronic piano used by Pastor Wang’s daughter, according to CAA.

"It’s totally unacceptable for the Chinese authority to arrest this pious crippled pastor simply for printing Bibles," said Rev. Bob Fu, president of CAA, "This action certainly reveals the hypocritical nature of the so-called Bible Exhibition tour in the U.S. sponsored by the Chinese government."

CAA urges the Chinese government to immediately release Pastor Wang and return the property confiscated from his house.