The popular house church preacher has been punished for his stubborn refusal to join the state-controlled Three-Self Church.
by Ma Wenyan
The name of Pastor Geng Zejun is known to the readers of Bitter Winter. He is the pastor of the Church of the Rock, a house church with a reformed theology located in the Huinong district of the prefecture-level city Shizuishan.
Shizuishan is the second largest city in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. It is located in the north of the region, near the border with Inner Mongolia. The name of the region comes from the Hui Muslims, who represent roughly one third of its population.
In June, Bitter Winter reported that the popular pastor, who had been arrested in January, had been committed to trial for his stubborn refusal to join the government-controlled Three-Self Church.
Bitter Winter has learned that Pastor Geng was put under heavy pressure to confess that he had committed the crime of organizing illegal religious gatherings and express repentance.
He refused, however, and on July 13, 2022, his trial was held in the Huinong District Court of Shizuishan. The prosecutor asked for a sentence of 11 months. The court went beyond the prosecutor’s request and has now sentenced Pastor Geng to 1 year and 3 months in prison.
He remains detained at the Shizuishan City Detention Center, Nongzhi Branch.