By Andreas Klamm, news correspondent
BEIJING /China. July 3, 2009. Religious liberty is one of those basic rights granted in the United States of America (U.S.A.) and in the Universal Declaration Of The Human Rights. On July 4, 1776 the Declaration of Independence has been signed by the Congress and in the United States of America people can celebrate the liberties and freedoms given to all people with a free will. Shi Weihan (38) , church leader of a Christian church in China has learned that claiming those elementary rights for religious liberty can lead in China into prison. Simply for printing and distributing Bibles at no cost on June 10, 2009 the Beijing Court found Mr. Shi Weihan, age 38, guilty of so called “illegal business operation” and sentenced the publisher of Bibles and Christian books to three years in prison and a 150,000 Yuan fine, which is approximately about $22,000 USD.
According to China Aid (www.chinaaid.org ) six other believers of the Christian faith stood trial together with Shi Weihan. These believers of the Christian faith and people also received criminal sentences for "illegal business operation."
Tian Hongxia, who worked for Shi Weihan, was fined three years in prison and a 150,000 yuan fine.
Li Fengshan, Zhou Xin, Cheng Xiaojing, LÅ± Yuequan and Li Zong, were all shareholders and employees of Xinshu Printing Company Ltd. of Beijing, the printing company which printed the Bibles and Christian books. Their sentences range from one to two years with fines from 60,000 yuan to 120,000 yuan.
Recently the international organization China Aid has received the Criminal Judgment from Haidian District People´s Court of Beijing Municipality for Shi Weihan and the other co-workers who were sentenced, also.
President of China Aid, Bob Fu has said: “Most of the books Shi
Weihan published were Bibles and Christian books. He distributed them
free of charge, because the Chinese government does not permit Bibles
to be sold in public bookstores, and there is a great need for them.
We call upon Christian book authors and those who placed orders for
printing Bibles and Christian literature to speak out for Shi and his
The wife and the children of Shi Weihan, Mrs. Zhang Jing and their two daughters, 12-year-old Shi Jia and 8-year-old Shi En Mei, are under tremendous pressure from authorities. The wife of the imprissoned believer of the Christian faith has hired a Christian lawyer Li Fangping to represent him and to appeal the verdict. The appeal process could take up to one year.
China Aid is asking to contact the Chinese embassy and request that Shi Weihan and the other sixsentenced people be immediately released.
Government authorities in China, according to China Aid, should allow Bibles and Christian literature to be printed and freely distributed in China.
People which want to support any action for the immediate release of Mr. Shi Weihan, may contact the Ambassador for China:
Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong
3505 International Place, NW, Washington, D.C. 20008
Tel: (202) 495-2000
Fax: (202) 588-9760
More information about the situation of believers of the Christian faith in China and the case of Shi Weihan are available on the web site of China Aid on www.ChinaAid.org
The Universal Declaration of the Human Rights is granting to ALL PEOPLE religious liberty and to receive or to impart information of any kind regardless borders in other words written “regardless of frontiers.”Article 18
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.Article 19
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
More information on the Universal Declaration Of The Human Rights are available on www.un.org .
Photo Credit: ChinaAid.org