A prominent Beijing house-church leader, found in possession of a massive cache of Bibles and Christian literature, faces a harsh sentence if convicted in his upcoming trial, according to Chinese contacts of the U.S. activist group Voice of the Martyrs.
Cai Zhuohua, 32, the leading minister to six house churches in Beijing, will be tried formally in court in the Chinese capital any day now, the Oklahoma-based group said.
The pastor was seized Sept. 11 by three plain-clothes officers believed to be from the Department of State Security, VOM said. Eyewitnesses said he was waiting at a bus stop when three strong men approached and pushed him into a white van
Cai was on his way home from a Bible study session. His wife, Xiao Yunfei, was arrested Sept. 27 with her brother, Xiao Gaowen, and sister-in-law, Hu Jinyun, while hiding in Hunan province. All four are held at Qinghe Detention Center, Haidian District, Beijing.
Cai and his wife face a harsh sentence because of their prominent role in Beijing's house-church movement, which is banned by the communist government. The regime allows Protestant church activity only under the state-controlled Three-Self Patriotic Movement. Catholics also are restricted to a government church, which rejects ties to the Vatican.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon