Chinese get prison time for Bible delivery

By Julia Duin

THE WASHINGTON TIMES | November 9, 2005

Religious persecution in China has reached the point that distributing Bibles is earning a three-year prison sentence.
    Cai Zhuohua, 34, a Beijing underground church leader, was sentenced yesterday to three years in prison for distributing Bibles and other Christian materials.
    His wife, Xiao Yunfei, got two years, and her brother Xiao Gaowen was sentenced to 18 months by the Haidian Lower People's Court in Beijing.
    They were arrested September 2004, said the China Aid Association of Midland, Texas. They were accused of distributing 200,000 Bibles and other materials as part of an unregistered house church Mr. Cai oversaw for 10 years.
    It is the latest in a long string of escalating arrests and harassment Chinese Christians have undergone in recent years.
    "This is not an acceptable result," said China Aid President Bob Fu. "We urge President Bush to use his upcoming visit to China to address this serious religious-persecution case."
    Mr. Bush will meet with leaders in Beijing during a Nov. 19-21 visit.
    "You bet when the president goes to Asia next week, he will continue to talk about the importance of promoting human rights and human dignity for all," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said yesterday.
    In a round-table interview yesterday with Asian journalists, Mr. Bush said he "will continue to remind President Hu [Jintao] about, for example, my personal faith and the belief that people should be allowed to worship freely.
    "A vibrant, whole society is one that recognizes that certain freedoms are inherent and need to be part of a complete society," Mr. Bush said of the message he would give China's communist leaders.
    Mr. Bush meets today with the Dalai Lama. The 70-year-old Tibetan religious leader, in town for several conferences about meditation and neuroscience, slammed his native country at a press conference yesterday for "very, very repressive" policies.
    Other religious groups claim persecution similar to that suffered by the Tibetan Buddhists represented by the Dalai Lama.