|Tu Yan, one of the Christians
imprisoned on false cult charges.
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(Dali, Yunnan—Feb. 5, 2018) Christians in China’s southern Yunnan province are under attack, facing long prison sentences as Chinese authorities try to eradicate their religion under the guise of cracking down on “evil cults.”
In 2016, Yunnan officials formed an investigative team dedicated to wiping out the Three Grades of Servants religious sect, which China regards as a dangerous cult, and launched systematic attack against them.
Only they didn’t just target Three Grades of Servants members but rather conducted mass arrests of more than 200 Christians across the province. About 40 of them are still in custody, their lawyers under official review just for defending them, and face long sentences in China’s cruel prisons.
Ignoring their denials that they never belonged to the cult, Chinese officials sentenced six of these imprisoned Christians—Ju Dianhong (46 years old), Liang Qin (30 years old), Zhang Hongyan (34 years old), Zi Huimei (30 years old), Yang Shunxiang (29 years old), and Zhang Shaocai (42 years old)—to 4-13 years in prison. Even though Ju Dianhong and Liang Qin said they were never involved with the sect, they were accused of leading, recruiting members, doing missionary work, and spreading news of the apocalypse on behalf of the cult.
In the court’s formal verdict, it outlined such broad parameters for what constituted an “evil cult” that some speculated Christianity could fall under the definition. It also said that the authorities found the accused in possession of Christian books such as Pilgrim’s Progress and Streams in the Desert, which they labeled “evil cult” materials.
Another Christian, Tu Yan, has spent nearly a year in jail for the same allegations, awaiting her trial. She and her fellow Christian, Su Min, were running a hotel in Dali, Yunnan, when they were both arrested and handed cult charges. Tu Yan says she has never even heard of the Three Grades of Servants before, and her sister and father stoutly maintain that she only practiced Christianity.
If they are not freed, these Christians face many perils in prison. The Chinese government infamously persecutes those it deems “enemies of the state,” many of whom are Christians, and Christian prisoners often suffer torture, beatings, and even death at the hands of prison officials. Others leave their cells in extremely poor physical and mental health from subjection to inhumane practices and medical neglect.
However, because of you, hope is not lost. By signing this petition, you are taking a firm stand against these atrocities and asking President Trump and other world leaders to speak out and press China to release these innocent Christians unconditionally and immediately. Because China prefers to maintain an untarnished international image, its authorities have been known to free wrongly imprisoned individuals after experiencing international pressure.
As a result, your intervention is tantamount. Sign the petition in order to tell China “enough” and urge President Trump to do everything in his power to free these innocent Christians!