Friday, July 13, 2012

Chinese Christians using "superstition" to undermine national law enforcement?

Chinese authorities were careful to confiscate musical instruments and choir robes when they shut down meetings of the Suqian house church and arrested Pastor Shi Enhao on May 31, 2011. He was detained under suspicion of "using superstition to undermine national law enforcement." He was later sentenced without the benefit of a trial in late July to two years in labor camp on a charge of "holding illegal religious meetings."

Members of the Suqioan church meet in small groups around their city. Pastor Shi's detention is evidence that meeting in smaller groups does not guarantee freedom from government interference. After Shi's arrest, police also confiscated donations equivalent to $22,000, according to China Aid Association.

Other church leaders arrested at the same time were released within 24 hours.

We can be thankful to God that now Pastor Shi has been released, in January of this year. It is not known why he was released early, but international pressure is one probable reason.

Shi is now at home with his family, but he remains under government surveillance.

(from Voice of the Martyrs newsletter, May 2012)