|Tu Yan meets with her lawyer
while behind bars on a falsified
cult participation charge.
(Dali, Yunnan—April 26, 2018) Two Christians received a two-year and a year-and-a-half prison sentence, respectively, as part of an ongoing persecution Christians under the guise cracking down on a cult.
On Tuesday, the Dali Intermediate Court in Dali, Yunnan, ruled that Christians Tu Yan and Su Min had participated in the Three Grades of Servants, a religious institution recognized as a cult by the Chinese government. Tu received a two-year sentence, while Su was sentenced to a year-and-a-half on charges of cult involvement. Because they both entered police custody in October 2016, Su has already been released, and Tu should be released in October.
Tu Kui, Tu Yan’s sister, told a ChinaAid reporter, “The court may have struck a deal with Tu Yan, demanding that she fire her representative lawyer in exchange for a more lenient verdict. She decided not to appeal.”
Both of the arrested women were taken from the hotel they ran in October 2016 as part of a wider crackdown on the Three Grades of Servants. During the investigation of Tu Yan’s case, the Dali’s public security bureau submitted 12 volumes and 2,400 pages of fabricated evidence against her to the procuratorate. Throughout the prosecution process, Tu Yan maintained that she was a Christian who had never even heard of the Three Grades of Servants until her arrest.
Her sister and her father backed up her claim, with Tu Kui saying, “The court wronged her. My sister is a Christian. My entire family is Christian.”
Tu Kui then added, “Tu Yan will be transferred to a prison in Kunming [Yunnan]. We will visit her there.”
More than 100 people were taken into custody and accused of cult involvement during the crackdown. Many of them have been harshly sentenced. In January, a court in Lincang, Yunnan sentenced Christians Ju Dianhong, Liang Qin, Zhang Hongyan, Zi Huimei, Yang Shunxiang, and Zhang Shaocai to 1-13 years in prison for allegedly “organizing and using an evil cult to undermine law enforcement.” According to their verdict, the defendants, led by Ju and her assistant, Liang, recruited members for the Three Grades of Servants, gathered secretly in many Yunnan districts, preached about an impending apocalypse, and attempted to restructure the religion. The defendants said that they are only Christians and never had any connection with the Three Grades of Servants.
In response to this crackdown, ChinaAid set up a petition to free them, which can be signed here.
ChinaAid exposes abuses, such as those suffered by the Christians swept up in the crackdown, in order to stand in solidarity with the persecuted and promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law.