Chinese Christian Zhao Weiliang was sentenced to four years in prison after Chinese officials raided a choir practice on 25 June. As the believers practiced hymns at a factory owned by a church member, about 50 uniformed and plainclothes policemen raided the practice in the village of Sanwuqi in Heze City, Shandong province. Twenty-two believers were arrested, including a pregnant woman and four children.
Zhao was taken separately from the police station to a hotel, where an intoxicated police captain abused him physically and verbally. The police told him, “You can go home as long as you admit what you believe in is a cult…” Zhao refused to give in.
The children, their parents and the pregnant woman were released immediately. The remaining believers were released on bail 23 July 2014, but Zhao and Cheng Hongpeng remained in custody.
On 27 May 2015, Zhao was sentenced to four years in prison under the charge of “using a cult organization to undermine law enforcement.”
According to VOM partners, Zhao’s Total Scope Church is a Bible-based house church centered on the teachings of Christ and is not a cult.
Zhao has a wife, Liu Cuiping, and two small children. He also supported his elderly parents. His wife currently depends on church members to maintain a few acres of farmland.
Heze City Detention Center, No. 168 Changjiang Xilou, Cao county, Heze city
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