China Aid Association
(Midland, Texas (CAA)-November 29, 2006) CAA learned that three controversial church leaders were executed secretly sometime last week.
According to Mr. Li Maoxing’s wife, she was asked by the Intermediate Court of Shuangyashan City, Heilongjiang province at 2:30pm on November 28 (Beijing time) to collect her husband’s ashes at the court as soon as possible. According to attorney Li Heping who is the defense lawyer for Mr. Xu Shuangfu, the founder of the Three Grade Servant church group, Mr. Xu, Mr. Li Maoxing and Mr. Wang Jun were already executed secretly sometime last week. Neither of their attorneys nor any of their relatives was informed in advance about the execution. The Defense team for the three executed argued that there is no evidence to prove Xu and the other two church leaders were directly involved or took part in organizing and abetting the murder of the members of the Eastern Lightening religious group.
Attorney Li Heping told CAA that he was deeply disturbed by the secret arbitrary execution without even notifying the family members of the executed in advance. CAA confirms that so far 15 individual believers and leaders had been executed in related to this case.
“We are completely shocked by this news” said Rev. Bob Fu, the president of CAA, “the arbitrary execution certainly shows the Chinese central government is totally ignoring the rule of law. The local government is clearly engaging cover-up the evidence of torture by secret cremating the inmates’ bodies. We appeal to the Supreme People’s Court to launch independent investigation on this case.”
Defense Lawyer Mr. Wei Rujiu’s contact phone number:
Ms. Wu Aiying, minister of Ministry of Justice of PRC
Address?No. 10, Nan Da Jie, Chaoyangmen, Beijing City (Zip Code: 100020)
Issued by CAA on November 29, 2006
Defense Statement for Xu Shuangfu
Good day, presiding judge, judge, and public prosecutor:
We are Li Heping, Esq., of Gaobo Longhua Law Office, Beijing and Zhang Lihui, Esq., of Beijing Branch of Xingyun Law Office, Zhejiang Province. Under assignment of our respective law offices, we act in defense for the No. 1 defendant Xu Shuangfu in the case of Xu Shuangfu suspected of murder and fraud. We hereby present our defense opinions in accordance with the law as follows:
Part I: concerning the procedures of this case
I. Defendant Xu Shuangfu’s confession was extorted by severe torture during the investigation stage
In interviews by each defense attorney and court investigation, Xu Shuangfu stated that he had confessed due to severe torture, and the severity of such torture went beyond the imagination of defense attorneys?
1. Sleep deprivation for long periods of time;
2. Pouring hot pepper, gasoline, and ginger juice into the nostril;
3. Torture by being hung by the wrists above the ground;
4. Torture by being hung by the wrists in such a way that the arms were stretched and bound backward through the legs;
5. Torture by electric instruments including: Having the toes bound with copper wire and electrified with a shock baton. Having the fingers bound with copper wire and electrified with a shock baton. The cruelest one was having the genital organs bound with copper wire and electrified with a shock baton;
6. Forced to wearing a helmet, which once turned on, emits a variety of unbearable noises;
7. Sometimes the interrogators regard the noise level too low so they beat the noise helmet with clubs;
8. Beaten with iron chains and clubs -Xu had several swollen places on his head and one on his leg as a result of such beating;
9. Bound to an iron chair without food or drink for 48 hours;
10. Hands and feet shackled during the investigation stage until December 15, 2005 except during the five minute meal time;
11. Burned with high wattage light bulbs, etc.
Every torture session was aimed at compelling the defendant to confess certain fabricated facts. Sometimes the interrogators directly forced the defendant’s hands to sign or give a finger print. In order to make the defendant confess the statement “the Eastern Lightning sect must be dealt with,” the interrogators used all types of torture techniques for the duration of 7 days and nights. Though the defendant never made this statement, he was tortured so severely that he would rather die than live in such a dreadful condition. So he finally confessed to whatever charges that they imposed on him.” Therefore, the interrogation depositions of Xu Shuangfu in this case were extorted by means of torture and are illegal evidence. These should be excluded and shall not be used as a basis of a verdict.
II. It is wrong that this case charges the defendant with general common crime while, on the other hand, the facts are presented in the manner of organized crime for the defendant to bear the responsibilities.
The indictment of this case deliberately evaded formulations of organized crime, yet giving out a sense that the charges of organized crime exist throughout. In regard to the number of persons being accused, it far exceeds the minimum standard number of three for organized crime. Its accusation that the defendant instigated and inspired others to commit crimes has the obvious flavor of formulations regarding multilevel organized crime; it accuses that the defendant be held liable for all the crimes charged in this case equal to assuming the criminal responsibilities of the principal criminal in an organized crime. The inconsistencies between the form and content of accusation, and between crimes accused and responsibilities assumed constitute illegality.
III. Fifteen of the 17 specific cases accused in the indictment had already been tried without the presence of defendant Xu Shuangfu and the majority of the verdicts had affirmed the so-called criminal facts of Xu Shuangfu. At this court trial the convicted verdicts are presented as evidence to prove the existence of comprehensive crime. This kind of circular argument is illogical.
Looking at the entire case, the logic of the prosecution is that the overall authorization, instigation, and inspiration of the defendant existed before the nationwide attack and murder of the Eastern Lightning sect members and the existence of the criminal organization. This logic requires that the indictment should first prove the existence of the overall authorization and the criminal organization which lead to the specific criminal acts of individual cases. Now the judicial authorities totally reversed the order in their accusations and trials. They moved in the opposite direction to first prove the validity of charges in individual cases and then affirmed the existence of “criminal organization” by the individual cases. Judging from the verdicts of various provinces outside Heilongjiang Province, today’s trial is already redundant, since the courts of the other places have convicted the defendant of his so-called crimes in his absence without trial. Their verdicts have convicted the defendant of his so-called common criminal acts on multiple occasions, short of condemnation and measurement of penalty. It is obviously unlawful. Moreover, the eight verdicts by the supreme courts of various provinces are mostly riddled with discrepancies and their procedures are severely unlawful. In some verdicts, the procedure of approval of the death sentence and the procedure of the second trial were handled by the same collegiate panel, thus making the approval procedure only an empty title. The supreme court of Jiangxi Province took an astonishingly unprecedented speed in concluding the He Yi’en murder case. The trial judges took a record breaking 27 days since the day of first trial verdict to complete the entire procedure from second trial adjudication to approval of the death sentence, including 10 days of defendant appeal. Such speed can only be considered extremely irresponsible, excessively indifferent to human life, and totally contemptible of the law. Since these unlawful verdicts have already taken effect, there will appear several more wrong verdicts all over the country if some of the defendant’s acts are determined to be untenable today. This in fact is equal to conviction of the defendant without trial and deprivation of his right to defend himself, rendering today’s court trial a mere formality.
Defense attorneys still have received, until the court trial process, verdicts of the specific cases from other provinces as evidence regarding this case. The logic of this trial that attempts to prove the existence of an overall authorization regarding this case by means of the verdicts of the individual cases resulting from the overall authorization is as absurd as the case of a tree without a trunk but with fully grown branches and leaves and trying to prove the existence of the trunk using the branches and leaves as evidence. The logic of this court trial is as ridiculous as an elder man in his 60’s coming to an infant still in mother’s womb and saying: “Father, I come here for the sake of delivering you and proving that you are my father!”
Part II: Concerning the facts of this case
I: Concerning the facts of this case
Defendant Xu Shuangfu became a believer in Christianity at age 14 and later became a preacher. He had been detained many times during the period. Still he and Li Maoxing worked together established a multitude of churches nationwide. They followed the globally acceptable church management and administration framework and system to manage these churches.
When the defendant came back from a tour of churches in Hangzhou in 1999, he found that another church sect presented a great challenge to their church by means of intimidation, induction, and kidnapping. Proceeding from maintaining the stability of the church and preventing followers from being captured, the defendant and Li Maoxing indeed discussed measures to cope with the situation. The measures that they raised were to abstain from evil sects, to pray and to triumph relying on God’s great power. As to those kidnapped followers, the measures were remonstration, convincing with truth and discipline. They absolutely did not mention to kill “traitors” of the church, nor did they propose to kill core members of the other church sect. The defendant as a preacher was completely aware of one of the Ten Commandments that Christians must abide by, i.e., “Thou shall not kill.” And it was impossible that the defendant would misunderstand and authorize such an action.
II: The background facts accused in the indictment are erroneous
1. The indictment accuses that “defendants Xu Shuangfu and Li Maoxing established illegal organization ‘Three Grades of Servants’ in the middle of the 1980’s, and were later joined by Zhang Min, Zhu Lixin and others and developed into a tight organizational system.” This is erroneous.
Materials in the case and court trial demonstrate that defendant Xu Shuangfu was converted to Christianity by his great-aunt at the age of 14 when he was sick. Later he became a preacher and began preaching the Gospel in the Cultural Revolution period. He continued preaching despite the fact that had been detained many times. Xu Shuangfu believes in Christianity and preaches the Gospel of Christianity and has established churches of Christianity. They have not proclaimed to be the sect of “Three Grades of Servants,” and their church is not an organization of “Three Grades of Servants.” In terms of time, Xu Shuangfu started to be a Christian in the 1960’s and has developed churches since the 1970’s. The churches that he helped establish are legal, not illegal organizations, since the Constitution clearly prescribes that citizens have the freedom of religious belief.
What Xu Shuangfu has established are Christian churches which are religious organizations and have specific organizational rules. The expansion of this type of organization depends on the communication of faith. The churches develop as the number of believing followers grow. And the church members connect with each other based on faith. The accusations in the indictment of “joined by” and “developed into a tight organizational system” give the impression that the organization was illegal from the very beginning just like a mafia or certain criminal gang. But the facts speak the contrary.
2. The indictment accuses that defendant Xu Shuangfu, in order to control and develop members, spoke to members of his organization on multiple occasions by multiple means and stated that the Eastern Lightning sect is the enemy and the devil, and instigated his followers to capture, injure and kill Eastern Lightning sect members€¦ thus resulting in five cases directed against Eastern Lightning sect members in Shandong, Gansu, Chongqing, and other places. This is also erroneous.
As stated in preceding paragraphs, Xu Shuangfu as a preacher has established churches of Christianity and believes in the Trinity God of the Holy Father, the Holy Son and the Holy Spirit. The defendant believed that the other sect usurped the name of Christianity while its founder claimed herself to be the second coming female Christ and requested followers to believe in her. This has been universally acknowledged in Christianity as a heretical cult and an enemy of God. All orthodox Christian denominations including the official Three-Self churches, not just Xu Shuangfu, agree that this sect comes from the devil. And the defendant considers that it is correct to say so from the standpoint of faith.
The devil and enemy referred to herein are terms of the Bible. They exist on the level of faith and spirituality, and are formless and not secular concepts pertaining to the material world. The devil and enemy determined by faith are not equivalent to those tangible ones existing in the material world. And enemy of God cannot be eliminated physically as in the real world, and can only be triumphed over by the power of faith through the spiritual warfare. This kind of language cannot be construed as the fact of instigation and suggestion of injuring, murdering, and capturing members of the Eastern Lightning sect. The accusations in the indictment of the defendant’s conversations with Li Maoxing and Zhang Min regarding Eastern Lightning sect are no more than that, and his speech did not contain any intention of revenge or retaliation by attacking, murdering, or eliminating the Eastern Lightning sect. And the defendant is completely unaware of the five cases directed against the Eastern Lightning sect, let alone that these were the result of the defendant’s instigation and authorization.
3. The indictment accuses that defendant Xu Shuangfu directed Li Maoxing and Zhang Min to the Northeast to fix the Eastern Lightning sect in the end of 2002 and that Li and Zhang convened the “Ji Le Temple” meeting at Xu’s inspiration to plot revenge and strike against the Eastern Lightning sect. This is not true either.
In the previous conflicts between different sects of Christianity, the solution was usually to discover the truth through debate to achieve the goal of maintaining the truth and discarding falsehoods. Christians regard the Eastern Lightning sect as having gone too far and resorted to every conceivable means to its end including soliciting or kidnapping members and preachers from other churches and even seducing them with sex. The Bible also instructed that church leaders should take good care of the church so the faithful would not be led astray. According to the canons of Christianity, men shall not kill. So their precautions are only avoidance and detachment and triumphing over the Eastern Lightning sect by spiritual warfare. Xu Shuangfu and Li Maoxing are founders of the church. They have explicit division in authority with Xu supervising the overall management, missionary work, and enterprises inside the church, while Li is in charge of development and prevention of emergencies. Li Maoxing and Zhang Min traveled to the Northeast for the purpose of touring the churches and lecturing on the Bible. They can go on their mission without Xu’s authorization and approval.
What did Li Maoxing and Zhang Min say at the Ji Le Temple meeting? They quoted the Bible story of Phinehas killing the Midianites in Chapter 25 of the book of Numbers. Their purpose was to encourage the faithful to strengthen their confidence and conquer seduction and wage a successful spiritual warfare. They asked the followers to resist the Eastern Lightning sect yet not request the attendees to murder or harm members of the Eastern Lightning sect. As to this fact, Ben Zhonghai, Wang Jun, Xie Jinmei and others all have provided clear and definite confessions. It is obviously false for the indictment to state that the Ji Le Temple meeting was a pre-war mobilization meeting to fix the Eastern Lightning sect.
The indictment accuses defendant Xu Shuangfu of issuing commands to kill in certain specific murder cases. For example, in the case of “Murdering of Zhang Huanping,” Xu is accused of issuing a command that Zhang Huanping be “disciplined or be disposed of if not coming back” and in the case of two unidentified men of Minquan County being murdered,” Xu is accused of issuing instructions that they be “dealt with,” etc. All these accusations are not true.
In the above cases, the public prosecutor accuses the defendant Xu Shuangfu of either instruction to discipline the victim or otherwise dispose of the victim, or that defendant Xu Shuangfu bears the responsibility of overall authorization of the criminal acts. The public prosecutor relies entirely on the confessions of the co-defendants of this case including Li Maoxing, Zhang Min and Xu Shuangfu himself without any other corroborative evidence. However, defendants Xu Shuangfu and Li Maoxing both stated in replying to the public prosecutor’s inquiry and attorneys’ interview that their confessions were extracted by means of severe torture during the investigative stage and therefore are false. And Zhang Min’s confession is inconsistent and obviously intended to exonerate herself. Moreover, out of all the cases accusing defendant Xu Shuangfu of so-called authorization, there is only one confession from Zhang Min, which Xu Shuangfu denies. According to the rules of evidence, a verdict cannot be made based on testimony from a single source. Therefore, all the specific cases accusing defendant Xu Shuangfu of criminal acts cannot be affirmed.
Part III: Concerning the evidence of this case
The evidence proving that the defendant organized, commanded, instigated and suggested strikes and murders against core members of the Eastern Lightning sect and so-called church traitors can be specifically listed as follows:
1. Confession by Xu Shuangfu himself; 2. Confession by Li Maoxing; 3. Confession by Zhang Min; and 4. Confession by Zhu Lixin; All these confessions have a common characteristic in that they are all confessions by the co-defendants. As argued previously, confession by Xu Shuangfu was the extracted by torture. After cross examination in court, we saw that defendant Li Maoxing’s confession was also exacted by torture. Zhu Lixin also stated in court trial that he endured torture during interrogation. The criminal procedure law of our country clearly and definitely prohibited gathering evidence through illegal methods such as coercing confession by torture, threatening and seducing, and evidence gathered through illegal methods cannot be used as such. Zhang Min implicated during investigation that the Principal Servant Xu incited and inspired her to kill members of the Eastern Lightning sect. However, court investigation has verified that her confession is inconsistent and isolated evidence from a co-defendant of the same case, and thus cannot be used as basis of verdict. Confession by Zhu Lixin, as that by Zhang Min, is isolated evidence from a co-defendant of the same case, thus cannot be used on its own as basis of verdict.
Through the above analyses we can see the evidence proving guilt of the defendant is insufficient and inconsistent, and the confessions are all one-on-one implications. Xu Shuangfu denied that he organized and ordered strikes against or murder of the Eastern Lightning sect. Any single party’s statement cannot be relied upon to convict the defendant of the crime.
I. It is the universal principle throughout the world that a verdict cannot be reached simply by the confession of a co-defendant of the same case without any other evidence.
The British and American legal system stipulates that the defendant of the same case cannot act as the witness for the prosecutor against a co-defendant and that the defendant of the same case can act as witness for testimony only when his or her confession is in favor of other defendants and thus used as evidence of the case.
The Continental legal system and the former Soviet Union hold that the defendants of the same case belong to the same party of interest and not a third party independent of the criminal act and thus cannot become witnesses.
The following are reasons why a verdict cannot be based on confessions from the defendants virtually of the same case without any other evidence:
1. Statements from the defendants virtually of the same case are in the form of defendants’ confessions. If a verdict is based on such confessions, it violates Article 46 of the Criminal Procedure Law of our country, which clearly stipulates: “A defendant cannot be found guilty and penalized simply on the basis of defendant’s confession without any other evidence.” This rule provides only a qualitative definition but no quantitative limitation. Regardless of the number of co-defendants in the same case, as long as they act as defendants in the criminal procedure, the nature of their confessions cannot be changed and such confessions cannot be used as the only basis of verdict.
2. Co-defendants of the same case face the problem of sharing the criminal responsibility and thus the confessions from co-defendants of the same case show a strong tendency of falsehood to make it unreliable to reach a verdict based only on such confessions.
3. To base a verdict simply on the confession from co-defendant of the same case violates the fundamental principle of evidence liability, because the co-defendant, while proving the guiltiness of the other defendant, at the same time proves his or her own guiltiness.
4. Such cases cannot stand the test of practice. Once one of the codefendants retracts a confession, the factual foundation of the whole case will certainly collapse.
II. Unlawful evidence shall not be accepted and trusted is another fundamental principle of criminal procedure
Article 43 of the Criminal Procedure Law of our country stipulates that personnel engaged in trial, prosecution, and investigation must abide by legal procedures in the collection of various evidence that can prove the guilt or innocence of criminal suspects and defendants and determine the degree of severity of criminal action. It stresses that judicial personnel shall collect evidence using legal methods in criminal procedure and shall avoid in particular such methods as extraction of confession by torture, threats, seduction, and deception.
The so-called legal methods include meeting the following requirements: The personnel for collecting evidence are legal. The procedures for collecting evidence are legal. The legal formalities for collecting evidence are complete, and the authoritative foundations for collecting evidence are adequate.
The extraction of a confession by means of torture, either physical or quasi-physical, is characterized by compelling the person being interrogated to make a choice between enduring physical or spiritual distress and making confession according to the intentions of the interrogator. The desired outcome of threats is to force the person being interrogated to choose between making a confession and losing certain kinds of interests. The desired outcome of seduction is to compel the interrogated to choose between making a truthful confession and currying favor with the interrogator. The desired outcome of deception is to force the interrogated to choose between making a truthful confession and confessing according to the fabricated story of the interrogator.
Collection of illegal evidence is the fundamental root of unjust, false, and erroneous cases. It seriously infringes the litigation rights of interested parties and disrupts the principle of impartiality of the criminal procedure. The Criminal Procedure Law of our country strictly prohibits adoption of illegally collected evidence. This case certainly cannot reach a verdict against the defendant on the basis of illegal evidence.
Part IV: The reasonable doubts in this case that cannot be excluded
In the indictment and litigation of this case, the majority of evidence focuses on the defendant quoting the Bible story of Phinehas killing the Midianites in Chapter 25 of the Book of Numbers implied his intention and action in the instigation of his followers to be God’s warriors and kill the Eastern Lightning sect, and thus caused the dozen and more murder cases directed against members of the Eastern Lightning sect.
However, it is the opinion of the defense attorneys that Chapter 25 of the Book of Numbers as recorded in the Bible is the book with the largest circulation in the world and has been handed down for more than two thousand years. The story has been cited and retold by preachers numerous times and there has not been much negative outcome so far. It would terrible if citing this story would inevitably lead to instigation and inspiration to murder. The reason why this story has been kept in the Bible all along indicates that it is not so terrible. It also means that such a charge of the public prosecutor is not appropriate.
There is another circumstance that a casual remark may reveal much to an attentive listener. Whereas the defendant means one thing in the preaching of this story, various listeners may interpret it to be different meanings. It is only natural that somebody’s interpretation may not agree with the intention of the preacher, or with the original meaning of the Bible. For hundreds of years, the interpretations of the Bible and of the canons and doctrines have been different and dissensions are inevitable. This has led to the formation of different denominations and the separation of the orthodox and the heretical, and of such groups as Reformers, Spiritual Grace, and so on. As to the story of Phinehas killing the Midianites, different persons have different interpretations. The preacher has one meaning; the listener may comprehend another meaning, and thus lead to difference. If a follower with the wrong comprehension committed a crime accordingly, should the preacher be held liable for this?
Moreover, the defendant states that he has never touched this topic since the Old Testament is difficult to understand and easy to produce divergent opinions due to his low level of education of grade three of elementary school. There are recordings of the defendant’s every preaching session, and the content of this chapter has not been found in the recordings.
Another line of argument, preaching the Gospel is just like teaching martial arts. It is a natural occurrence and harms nobody. However, if a learner of martial arts kills people using martial arts, it should be the liability of the killer and has nothing to do with the teacher. In other words, it is one thing to teach and learn martial arts, and quite another thing to use martial arts to do things. In the same vein, it is one thing to preach the Gospel, another thing to understand the Gospel, and still a different thing to act upon understanding of the Gospel.
The public prosecutor accuses that Li Maoxing and Zhang Min quoted the story of this chapter when they convened the coworkers meeting at Ji Le Temple in Harbin. This cannot be used as evidence of instigation and inspiration of followers to kill members of the Eastern Lightning sect either.
As argued previously, the records of the Bible have been in existence for several thousands years. Many people have read and preached about this chapter and have produced no significantly negative consequences. If certain followers have committed crimes and become felons, should the Bible be regarded as a potential instrument of criminal instigation? The answer will be absolutely negative.
Part V: Concerning the crime of fraud –
As discussed before, the church that was founded by Xu Shuangfu and Li Maoxing is a church of Christianity. It is a religious organization. According to teachings of the Bible, Christians should offer one-tenth of their income to God—the Trinity God of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit whom they believe in. As said in Chapter 3 verse 10 of the book of Malachi: “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out such blessing that you will not have room enough for it.” Christians voluntarily offer one-tenth or more of their income to God based on faith and their own motivation. This is an act of religion based on faith and thus has nothing to do with fraud. This is the reason why the indictment of this case accuses the defendant of fraud in the sum of RMB ¥25 million but fails to identify a single victim.
The offerings are due properties of the church and maintained and used by the church. They are tax exempt in many countries of the world and intrinsically different from fraud gains. Should the offerings be determined fraud gains, then there would be numerous swindlers all over the world, and in China.
The crime of fraud is taking possession by illegal means to defraud public and private properties through fabrication of facts or concealment of the truth. Yet the public prosecutor fails to mention what facts the defendant fabricated or what truth he concealed, nor does the public prosecutor try to verify the fabricated facts or concealed truth. The defendant preached the Gospel of the Christ and advised other people to believe in God. We should like to ask: “Is God fabricated?” Could the public prosecutor verify it by evidence? If the public prosecutor cannot prove that God was fabricated by the defendant, how can he convict the defendant? As to the offerings, principally one should offer one-tenth of ones income to the storehouse of God per requirement of Christianity, and the offering is voluntary and not forced. How can it be regarded as equivalent to fraud? If the defendant aimed at illegal possession, then he should first of all spend the properties on himself and on his family so he and his family can live a comfortable life. Yet in fact the defendant has neither house nor properties. His family lives a simple life, even to the degree of poverty. Xu Shuangfu himself lives a plain life, though he has at his disposal tens of millions of funds, which he regards as property of the church and not as his own, nor has he any intention to possess them. So the defendant does not fabricate facts or conceal the truth. The money offered by Christians to the church belongs to the church. There is no fact or act of fraud involved. Should the offerings to the church be regarded as fraudulent gains and confiscated, and offerings to the church be convicted and punished as fraud, it is not only a world class joke, it will also create unnecessary doubt among people of various circles at home a and abroad concerning the policy of freedom of religious belief of our country, and provide excuses for certain people abroad to attack China for its lack of religious freedom.
To summarize the above mentioned, the defendant has believed in Jesus Christ since 14 years of age, and founded a church of Christianity through preaching the Gospel. The church has established internal orders of servants, maids, co-workers, pillars, disciples and others to meet management requirements, and practiced division of service based on difference of ability among members of the church. Some are responsible for preaching, some are in charge of enterprises, some are engaged in developing the church, and others are responsible for resolving disputes inside and outside the church. Members of the church voluntarily offer one-tenth of their income to the kingdom of God according to Bible teachings. All members of the church are equal before God, be they disciples or maids. All these conform to the general rules of Christian churches all over the world. Right now some members of the church have committed the felony of murder. Is it feasible to regard the church as a criminal organization and the church leader as the chief criminal? This requires concrete analysis. If the church leader has committed criminal acts, then he should be punished the same as others according to law. However, if the church leader is unaware of the criminal acts, and does not commit plotting, organizing, instigating, and other specific criminal acts, then he should not be held legally liable to the crimes. In the trial of criminal cases involving religion, attention should be paid to the distinction in views of the world between the theists with belief and the atheists without belief. The atheist attributes everything in the world entirely to the sphere of the material. However, religious adherents believe that there is a spiritual universe beyond the material world. It is a realistic existence though invisible and untouchable, similar to light waves and electric waves. And there are tremendous difference between the religious, spiritual languages and the secular, worldly languages. For example, Christianity encourages Christians to be “warriors of Christ”; it does not mean to build an army of the material world. When Christians say to “bind” in the name of the Lord, it does not mean to bind with a rope of the material world. When they say to chase away, bind, or shun “enemy of God” and the “devil,” it does not mean really chasing or binding, let alone killing and destroying through secular methods. The preaching of church leaders cannot be convicted as instigation and inspiration of certain followers’ mistakes or even crimes, and the leaders shall not be held liable. Let what is God’s be God’s and what is Caesar’s be Caesar’s. The two cannot be mixed up. Judging from the trial of this case, the charges of suspected murder, detention, and fraud against the defendant brought by the public prosecutor have serious flaws in facts, evidence, law, and procedures. The facts are nonexistent and lack legal foundation; all of the evidence is comprised of confessions from co-defendants of the same case that cannot be used as basis for verdict. Moreover there are confessions extracted by severe torture in the procedures and the logic is reversed. Therefore, as defense attorneys, we declare that defendant Xu Shuangfu is not guilty based on facts and the law!
Li Heping, Attorney, Gaobo Longhua Law Office, Beijing
Zhang Lihui, Attorney, Beijing Branch of Xingyun Law Office, Zhejiang Province
March 2, 2006
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