An organization monitoring on persecuted Christians in China has called upon believers around the world to “contact Chinese embassies” and request the immediate release of house church leader and six others.
House Church leader Shi Weihan, 38, was found guilty of “illegal business operation” by a Beijing Court on 10 June; and was sentenced to three years in prison with a fine of 150,000 Yuan which is about 22,000 U.S. dollar for printing distributing Bibles at no cost. Six others who were the shareholders and employees in the bookstore were also sentenced to prison ranging from one to two years.
Bob Fu, president of the U.S.-based ChinaAid Association said: "Most of the books Shi Weihan published were Bibles and Christian books. He distributed them free of charge, because the Chinese government does not permit Bibles to be sold in public bookstores, and there is a great need for them.”
“We call upon Christian book authors and those who placed orders for printing Bibles and Christian literature to speak out for Shi and his family."
Six others who also stood trial together with Shi Weihan also received criminal sentences for "illegal business operation."
Tian Hongxia, who worked for Shi Weihan, was fined three years in prison and 150,000 yuan. The other five sentenced were Li Fengshan, Zhou Xin, Cheng Xiaojing, L? Yuequan and Li Zong, all shareholders and employees of Xinshu Printing Company Ltd. of Beijing, the printing company which printed the Bibles and Christian books.
Their sentences range from one to two years with fines from 60,000 yuan to 120,000 yuan. ChinaAid said it recently received the Criminal Judgment from Haidian District People's Court of Beijing Municipality for Shi Weihan and the other six who were sentenced.
It also learns that Shi Weihan's wife Zhang Jing and their two daughters, Shi Jia 12, and Shi En Mei 8, are under tremendous pressure from authorities.
“Though Shi's wife has hired Christian lawyer Li Fangping to represent him and to appeal the verdict. The appeal process could take up to one year,” it stated.
On 23 June, Chinese authorities have released all 18 house church leaders arrested in Langzhong city, Sichuan province on June 9, which according to ChinaAid was done due to pressure from many supporters who called the Public Security Bureau office after seeing its press release.
Therefore, ChinaAid has once again called upon Christians to “contact the Chinese embassy and request that Shi Weihan and the other six sentenced be immediately released, and that government authorities allow Bibles and Christian literature to be printed and freely distributed in China.”