Chinese Pastor, Wife Sentenced to One Year of Labour Camp

Chinese authorities have sentenced a pastor and his wife in Zhengzhou city, Henan province to one year of re-education through labor for "engaging in illegal religious activities."

U.S.-based ChinaAid Association reported that though Pastor Dou Shaowen and his wife Feng Lu of of Rock (Pashi) Church in Zhengzhou city were both sentenced to one year, the authorities allowed his wife to serve her term from home, in order to take care of their 12-year-old daughter; she was released on the evening of 25 June. However, she is required to report to the Public Security Bureau regularly, and could be sent to labor camp again if she is found "engaging in illegal religious activities" again.

Life in labour camps in China are believed to be harsh and life threatening.

Attorney Li Dunyong has traveled to Zhengzhou city to represent Pastor Dou and Feng Lu for the Administrative Review and Appeal, it also said.

Pastor Shaowen and his wife Feng Lu were arrested on 14 June, when several dozen officials from Zhengzhou Municipal Bureau of Religion and Zhengzhou Municipal Bureau of State broke into the church's Sunday worship service.

Witnesses say officials forcibly photographed and videotaped the more than 100 Christians present, cut off the electricity and forced the Christians to leave. And they finally posted sealing tape from the Bureau of Religion, sealing off all the worship areas of the Rock Church.

Five other Christians, Li Zhemin, Wei Jianhua, Zhang Julin, Ma Jianbo and Li Cuiying were arrested with Pastor Dou and Feng Lu. All of them were sentenced to 15 days of administrative detention and were forced to pay a fine of 800-900 Yuan each.

ChinAid has called upon Christians to contact Zhengzhou city authorities and ask for the immediate release of Pastor Dou Shaowen and Feng Lu, and the five Christians sentenced to administrative detention.