|House church gatherings, such as this one, are accused of
illegally gathering. (Photo: ChinaAid)
(Changji, Xinjiang—July 8, 2017) A court in China’s northwestern Xinjiang denied the appeals of five Christians, condemning them to lengthy prison sentences.
A Chinese court rejected the appeals of Zheng Lan, Cheng Yajie, Wang Lulu, Liu Yan, and Yang Zhaocun, Christians facing 3-5 year sentences for “gathering a crowd to disturb public order,” on June 27. According to the verdict, more than 50 people participated in activities China termed “illegal,” including studying the Bible, at Zheng’s home on March 5, 2016. Wang and Cheng said they planned the gathering, and Zheng said she had been providing accommodation to personnel from a Christian organization since 2011, allowing them to study, preach, and interpret religious texts in large-scale gatherings. After being held in custody for more than a year, the five were sentenced on April 18.
The defendants’ lawyers used the appeals to request that the court acquit their clients, but they were refused.
In its verdict, the court claimed the appeals’ arguments did not match the case’s so-called facts, which falsely accused the Christians of their crime, but failed to elaborate on how the gathering had disturbed public order, making their arrests completely arbitrary. In private, the judge disclosed that Xinjiang’s politics and law committee issued a document prohibiting house churches and ordering the punishment of all those who attended them. The document has not yet been made public.
ChinaAid exposes abuses, such as those experienced by Cheng, Zheng, Wang, Liu, and Yang, in order to stand in solidarity with persecuted Christians and promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law.
ChinaAid Media Team
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