China jails three for printing Bibles

A Chinese court sentenced a Protestant minister, his wife and her brother to prison terms of up to three years on Tuesday for illegally printing Bibles and other Christian publications, one of their lawyers said.

CLICK HEREThe Australian reports that the conviction of minister of Cai Zhuohua, 34, and his family by the Beijing People's Intermediate Court came days before US President George W. Bush arrives for a state visit.

In China, printing of Bibles and other religious publications needs approval from the State Bureau of Religious Affairs.

Bibles cannot be openly bought at bookshops in a country long criticised overseas for intolerance of religion.

Cai, arrested in September last year, was sentenced to three years in prison on charges of "illegal business practices", lawyer Zhang Xingshui said by telephone.

His 33-year-old wife, Xiao Yunfei, was given a two-year prison sentence and her brother, Xiao Gaowen, 37, an 18-month term, the lawyer said. Both were convicted on similar charges.

They were expected to appeal and have 10 days to do so.

Rights activists say that while religious freedom is enshrined in China's constitution and the faithful are allowed to worship at official churches, the Government is increasingly using legal excuses to crack down on house churches, or small groups of believers, and wayward religious groups.

China jails three for printing Bibles (The Australian/Australian Associated Press 8/11/05)

Cardinal Sodano hopes for end to tensions with China (CathNews 28/10/05)
China rejects Vatican invitation to four bishops (CathNews 12/9/05)

Beijing, protestant minister sentenced for illegally printing Bibles (AsiaNews.it 8/11/05)
Symposium on Catholic social teaching held in China (Independent Catholic News 8/11/05)
Year of the Eucharist: Food for Faith in China (Zenit 1/11/05)
Beijing should open talks with the Vatican before asking it to cut ties with Taiwan, says Bishop Zen (AsiaNews.it 1/11/05)
Beijing should open talks with the Vatican before asking it to cut ties with Taiwan, says Bishop Zen (AsiaNews.it 31/10/05)
Two underground priests arrested (AsiaNews.it 29/10/05)
Vatican ready to dump Taiwan (The Australian/London Times 31/10/05)
Vatican ready to end its 50-year feud with China (London Times 29/10/05)
The Pope, The Bishops and China (Vatican Radio English Features 30/10/05, audio - requires Real Player)

9 Nov 2005