Two house church leaders from Shanxi received heavy prison sentences in 2015 and still remain in custody accused of following heterodox teachings.
On April 27, 2015, Zhao Zhifeng and Gao Dongxiang were leading a gathering with eight believers in Shanxi’s Hejin city when National Security Brigade officers came to arrest them after an anonymous tip-off. After searching the premises, the police confiscated 488 pages of religious materials, nine Christian books, and a notebook computer. Ms. Zhao and Ms. Gao were arrested for “the crime of using a xie jiao organization to undermine law enforcement” and were detained at Yanhu District Detention Center. Xie jiao refers to heterodox teachings and is punishable under Article 300 of the Chinese Criminal Code from three to seven years in prison.
On December 2 that year, the local court sentenced Ms. Zhao and Ms. Gao to five years in prison and fined each 5,000 RMB. Gao Dongxiang had previously been convicted for religious belief, and was still on probation; combined with her original prison term, she received a total sentence of seven years. The two remain in custody to date.
This was the third arrest for Gao Dongxiang’s. In 2010, she was arrested in Hebei Province and sentenced to 15 months at a “re-education through labor” camp. In 2014, Ms. Gao was arrested again, and Hebei Province’s She County Court sentenced her to three years in prison with a five-year reprieve.
In case of Zhao Zhifeng, she was previously arrested in Shandong’s Tai’an city in 2009 and was held at a “re-education through labor” camp for two years.
Reported by Feng Gang