Chinese Christian Woman Sentenced to Jail for Holding Bible Study
By Mei Manuel, January 05, 2017 20:01 PM
On Sunday, China Aid reported that Ma Huichao - a Chinese woman living in western Xinjiang - was taken by the police along with four other Christians when they were accused by the Communist Party authorities of meeting for the Bible study without government approval.
Her lawyer was apparently not allowed to plead innocent for Ma and she was sentenced to a three-year prison sentence which started on Friday.
China has been cracking down on non-government sanctioned underground churches and Christian gatherings and has arrested several pastors and Christian worshipers throughout the years on similar charges. Christian camp leaders have also been detained and accused of brainwashing children by teaching them Christianity.
The government had also released and enforced the Revised Draft of Regulations on religious Afairs which established additional prohibitions on "organizing citizens to attend religious training, conferences and activities abroad," "preaching, organizing religious activities and establishing religious institutions or religious sites at school," and "providing religious services through the internet."
Several churches have also been checked by the authorities and some had their rooftop crosses demolished as the government claims it is a violation of the building codes.
Christian advocacy groups have said that these prohibitions are the way of the Communist regime to suppress the growth of Christianity in the country.
In an interview in September, one pastor named Zhou told China Aid, "the government wants to control everything, even the smallest aspects. One characteristic of this draft is the empowerment of local government bodies all the way down to the communities. This revision will further reduce the possibility of loosening religious control in China. It is becoming impossible."
China Aid also reported that other Christians were arrested throughout October and November and they are accused of belonging to "evil cults" though the accused have denied these charges. A complete number of these arrested people have yet to be determined, but some have been released.
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