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South China Church

The family of jailed South China Church preacher Gong Shengliang has asked the government to release him after he apparently suffered a stroke. The banned church attracted some 100,000 followers before a government crackdown. When police put pressure on the church, Gong’s aids beat followers-turned–informants, which led to his arrest in 2001 and a sentence of 19 years for encouraging the beatings and the raping of at least two followers. (Fox News, 12/23/12) [IT 4.1 2013]
South China Church Leaders Sentenced / China
The founder of the banned South China Church, Gong Shengliang, and his niece, have been sentenced to death by a court in Jingmen City following conviction on charges including “using a cult to undermine the enforcement of law,” according to the Information Center for Human rights and Democracy. The niece’s sentence was suspended for two years. Such sentences are usually commuted to life in prison. [csr 1.1 2002]

Seventeen other church members received sentences of from two years to life. The 50,000 member fundamentalist, evangelical church — spread over some ten provinces in eastern and central China — defied the law requiring Protestants to worship only in the state-controlled nondenominational church. At a secret trial on December 18, Gong was also convicted of complicity in rape and injuring 14 people during church rituals. Gong’s niece was also charged with being the founder of the “Hunan Special Periodical,” an underground Christian publication, of which a total of 500,000 copies in 48 issues were printed since it began in 1994. The South China Church is one of 16 “underground” Christian churches identified by the Chinese government, and the leaders of two of them have already been executed. (AP, 12/30/01, Internet; BBC Monitoring Asia-Pacific-Political, 12/31/01 Internet; Craig S. Smith, New York Times, 12/31/01)) [csr 1.1 2002]

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