On November 8, 2005 Pastor Cai Zhuohua, a prominent Beijing house church leader was sentenced to three years in jail on charges relating to ‘illegal business practices’ and fined 150,000 yuan (18,500 USD). His wife Xiao Yunfei was sentenced to two years and fined 120,000 yuan. Her brother Xiao Gaowen was given an 18 month sentence and fined 100,000 yuan. Just days before this verdict, a leading Chinese law firm was ordered to suspend all operations for one year. This firm was actively involved in many human rights cases including the case of Pastor Cai and family.
Cai was arrested September 11, 2004 at a bus stop, where he was dragged into a van by state security officers. The prosecution of his case was reportedly arranged directly by the Department of State Security. Authorities were shocked to find more than 200,000 pieces of printed Christian literature including Bibles in a storage room managed by Cai. Even though Pastor Cai had a business registered with the Chinese government, the business did not have a license to print religious material. The severe charges were brought against this pastor and family even though the material was not sold for profit but was given out freely.
China Aid learned that Pastor Cai had been tortured with electric cattle prods to force a confession after his arrest in September, 2004. The U.S. Embassy sent an observer to the first hearing for this case held July 2005 but entrance was denied. Religious persecution by the government appears to be increasing as the Olympics are approaching.
This information was obtained from China Aid Association, a vital partner with VOM (<a href="http://www.chinaaid.org" target="_blank" TITLE="Click to view ChinaAid.org">www.chinaaid.org</a>).