Sun Sep 16,
7:05 PM ET
BEIJING - A leader of China's underground Protestant church has been
released from prison after serving a three-year sentence for
distributing Bibles and other religious literature without a business
license, an overseas monitoring group said Sunday.
Pastor Cai Zhuohua returned to his Beijing home on Sept. 10 in good
physical and mental condition, the China Aid Association said in a
The association, based in Midland, Texas, said Cai had been told not
to speak about his prison experience and to report to a local police
station once a month.
China's sole legal government-controll
on the printing and distribution of religious literature and other
Cai had been sentenced for "illegal business practices" after police
searched a warehouse he managed and found more than 200,000 pieces of
Christian literature, including Bibles. His lawyers said he gave away
the religious materials for free and denied he was running a business.
Cai had been detained about 14 months before he was convicted in
November 2005. His pretrial detention appeared to have been counted
toward his sentence.
The association said Cai had been deprived of religious reading
material in prison, where he had been forced to work for 10 to 12
hours each day.
China's officially atheistic Communist government denies persecuting
religious believers, but says all religious groups must follow the law
and place love of nation above all else.
The government only allows worship in churches run by state-monitored
religious associations, although millions of Christians risk
harassment or worse by gathering in independent church groups, often
run out of private homes.
Source: AP via Yahoo News