3 Chinese Christians Sentenced for Illegal Proselytizing

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Shu Wenxiang, Tang Houyong and Xie Zhenqi, three Christians sentenced to one year of re-education through labor, in Zhoukou, Henan, have been suffering greatly along with their families since their arrests more than six months ago.

The three Christian men were first arrested on December 3, 2008, when they gathered in a home with more than 50 house church Christians who are part of the China Gospel Fellowship house church network. All of the Christians were arrested and about 20 Christians were sentenced to 15 days of administrative detention and a 1,000 yuan fine. Shu Wenxiang, Tang Houyong and Xie Zhenqi were sentenced to re-education through labor for "illegal proselytizing" and for organizing an "illegal gathering."

The three Christians have been in No. 3 Re-education through Labor Center of Henan in Xuchang city for more than six months. The prisoners call the labor camp "hell on earth." They must rise at 6 a.m. for running, then have breakfast at 7 a.m. They work making wigs for export from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. with only two 30 minute breaks for lunch and dinner. If the prisoners do not meet their quota, their work day is extended.

Because Shu Wenxiang, Tang Houyong and Xie Zhenqi provided the financial support for their families, while the men are suffering in prison, their families struggle to survive at home.

Tang Houyong has five family members. His wife serves the Lord in a house church in Xinyang city while the rest of his family must live in the countryside. In the past, the family was able to make a living through a tea business, but now they lack even basic food and clothing.

Xie Zhenqi's livelihood was farming. His wife is currently recovering from a heart attack, and his son is in college. Xie Zhenqi's daughter and son-in-law were forced to return to their hometowns in order to help harvest wheat. No one has been able to cultivate his field.

Shu Wenxiang's family also supported themselves through farming, but without Shu Wenxiang at home, they do not have the labor necessary to maintain their fields. Shu Wenxiang's two daughters are caring for their mother, Liu Fengquan, who has recently undergone a hysterectomy, as well as their 79-year-old grandfather.

ChinaAid condemns the Chinese authorities' persecution of the three Christian men in Zhoukou, Henan, and the suffering it has caused their families. ChinaAid strongly urges the authorities to release the three innocent Christians immediately. ChinaAid also encourages the Body of Christ in China and abroad to pray for and support these three Christians and their families, according to Jesus' promise, "Truly I say to you, because you did it to the least of these my brothers, you did it to me."

Read more about imprisoned Christian Shu Wenxiang.