A Chinese pastor and his wife have been given jail sentences for their refusal to comply with the Chinese government’s cross removal campaign.
The Christian Post reports that Bao Guahua and his wife Xing Wenxiang were sentenced to 14 years and 12 years in prison, respectively, for their protest against the campaign to remove crosses from China’s churches.
Over the past two years, government authorities have reportedly taken down 1,200 crosses from churches as part of their campaign to have all religion under government control.
Although Bao and Xing were indicted on corruption charges and accused of financial crimes and of gathering people to disturb social order, human rights organizations such as China Aid maintain that the couple’s sentence, as well as the sentences of other pastors who have been accused of similar charges, have to do with their opposition to the government’s crackdown on religion.
Bao and Xing were also fined more than $15,000 and the court ordered the confiscation of another $92,000.
China is planning on enforcing other religious regulations as well. Buddhist monks are already required to carry ID cards identifying their religious affiliation. Catholic religious leaders as well as Taoist priests will soon be required to do the same.
Although China ostensibly allows the free expression of Christianity, the government highly regulates what is permissible in worship.
Publication date: February 29, 2016