July 27, 2011
According to Yahoo! News, Protestant pastor Shi Enhao was sentenced by the Chinese government this weekend to two years in a Chinese labor camp for organizing an “unofficial” religious gathering. The church was also disbanded and its capital and funds seized by government officials. Shi was called a key leader of the Chinese House Church Alliance by The Baptist Press, which also stated Shi was sentenced to “re-education through labor”—an extrajudicial punishment that requires no conviction or trial.
President of China Aid Bob Fu told The Christian Post that Shi’s sentence was somewhat anticipated, but not to the degree in which it was executed. “His lawyer was denied access to visit him, so these are totally violations of Chinese law,” he said. “So in that sense it’s a surprise to me, but in terms of the persecution they are facing…it’s just intensified recently. I think he’s a part of the target by the Chinese central government to take down because of his leadership role in the Chinese house-church movement.”
The underground church movement in China has grown more and more bold over the past several months. Protestant church leaders in the country even defended a 1,000-member Beijing church from police persecution by issuing a petition to the Chinese legislature. For even more information on this situation, read a press release from China Aid here.