Sun Minghua was arrested in September 2001 on suspicion of organizing and utilizing a cult organization to undermine law enforcement. At the time she was a council member in charge of finances for the South China Church (SCC). After the arrest, police searched her house and confiscated financial documents related to the church.
In April 2001, the SCC was designated a "cult" by the ministry of Public Security. However, this did not stop church members from continuing in their "illegal missionary work." Even under the threat of arrest, the SCC continues expanding and increasing its membership. It is considered a relatively small house church in China, with approximately 100,000 members spread across 10 of China’s provinces. During 2001, the communist government tried to close SCC down by arresting more than 500 of its leaders.
Minghua was born on June 13, 1965 in Hubei province. Influenced by her Christian mother, she accepted the Lord in 1984, and in 1986, she devoted herself to preaching the gospel.
The trial for the charges related to organizing a cult was held December 2001, when Sun was sentenced to life in prison. At a later high court hearing, this sentence was reduced to 12 years. Earlier, in 1996, she was jailed for a year by the Jinmen Public Security Bureau for evangelism activities.