(Funan, Anhui Province—Dec. 22, 2020) On December 21, ChinaAid received the news that last week, the Fuyang Intermediate People’s Court had overturned the Funan People’s Court three-and-a-half-year prison sentence for Pastor Sun Yongyao.* Pastor Sun’s legal defense team, Wang Cheng, Xiang Li, Xu Weijin, and Guo Zhendong had successfully resisted Chinese Communist Party (CCP) tactics to compromise their defense. In response to their appeal, advocating Pastor Sun’s innocence, the higher court ordered that his case be retried. This court ruled the local court’s original verdict invalid due to it being based on partially unclear facts and insufficient evidence.
According to church staff, government officials failed to send any legitimate paperwork to the church before the forced demolition. On the afternoon of October 18, 2019, the local government commissioned a SWAT team and anti-riot police to forcibly demolish the church building. As members were not able to remove any possessions, the demolition destroyed many items the church regularly employed.
In and out of prison, Pastor Sun lives his life based on his motto which includes the following four principles:
- Persevere and remain silent [do not complain];
- Be willing to suffer for the Lord;
- Believe in and trust Jesus;
- Pray and wait.
Pastor Sun living by these four principles inside and outside prison walls contributed to clear facts as well as more than sufficient evidence to convince his legal defense team to petition the higher court on his behalf. While he awaits his forthcoming retrial, Pastor Sun preserves and remains silent [does not complain]. He willingly suffers for the Lord. Just as he encourages others, Pastor Su believes in and trusts Jesus. He prays and waits….
Fuyang City Court’s verdict, page 2.
*The lower court had also sentenced two of Pastor Sun’s coworkers, Brother Geng Yimin, director of the Church’s Governing Committee (sentenced to three years), and Brother Dai Chunlei (received a 10-month sentence with one year reprieve).
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