China Court Rejects Appeal House Church Leader
BEIJING , CHINA – A key house church leader in China and relatives were still behind bars Thursday, December 22, after their appeal was rejected, BosNewsLife learned.
34-year old Pastor Cai Zhuohua, his wife Xiao Yunfei, 33, and her brother Xiao Gaowenone, 37, received a combined prison sentence of nearly seven years in prison in November, on charges of “illegal business practices” for printing 237,000 Bibles and other Christian publications.
Human rights groups and churches were hopeful about a possible release, after an unexpected “second trial” was announced in recent weeks, apparently amid international pressure.
But “Pastor Cais second trial had no new verdict,” said China Aid Association (CAA), a US-based religious rights group with close knowledge about the case.
“The judge in the First Peoples Intermediate Court of Bejing announced [in] the final verdict that the appeal was rejected,” added CAA in comments to BosNewsLife.
Pastor Cai and the other two detainees were reportedly pressured to withdraw their appeal and tortured, BosNewsLife monitored.
China ‘s government has denied human rights abuses and claims that Christians are free to worship in state approved denominations, within the laws of the Communist nation.