Eight house church Christians from the high-profile demolition incident this summer were sentenced to time in prison by the Peoples Court of Xiaoshan District, Hangzhou city.
After 12 hours of trial that began at 8:30 a.m. local time and concluded at 9 p.m., the Chinese Christians were given sentences between one year and three and a half years of prison, reported China Aid Association on Friday.
Though todays sentence against the faithful is less heavy than expected because of the international pressure, yet it is not acceptable, said Bob Fu, president of CAA, in a statement on Friday. The international community should urge the Chinese government to release those innocent house church believers immediately.
One 75-year-old elder was said to have lost consciousness during the trial and was sent to the hospital for care.
The pastors received heavier prison sentences than most of the church members. Pastor Shen Zhuke, daughter of the 75-years-old elder, received a three-and-a-half-year sentence and Pastor Wang Weiliang was sentenced to three years in prison.
Four of the convicted Christians were sentenced to imprisonment but postponed to carry out at a later date. They are likely to be released, according to CAA.
The construction of Dangshan house church in Xiaoshan district, Zhejiang province in eastern China was nearly complete when police force, government workers, and military vehicles surrounded and demolished the church building in July. Some 10,000 Christians were praying inside the building when government forces arrived. Hundreds were wounded from electric shock batons and arrested by police.
Dangshan house church was one of the hundreds of house churches destroyed in Zhejiang province in recent years.