Wife fears lengthened prison sentence, financial ruin after selling Christian books

Xu Lei, pictured outside the Guangfu Bureau of Letters and
Calls, where she attempted to petition regarding her husband,
Li Hongmin’s arrest.

China Aid

Updated on March 6, 2017 at 6:06 p.m., with a newly released photo.

(Guangzhou, Guangdong—March 1, 2017) In a desperate letter, the wife of a Christian imprisoned in China’s southern Guangdong province wrote that officials forced her husband to falsify the monetary value of Christian books he sold in order to increase his jail sentence.

Xu Lei, the wife of imprisoned Guangfu Church member Li Hongmin, penned a letter recounting how she heard authorities coerce her husband to change the monetary value of Christian books he circulated from 40,000 Yuan ($5,820.00 USD) to 50,000 Yuan ($7,275.00 USD). This alteration, which occurred in court, means that Li, who was taken into police custody on June 2, 2016, on the charge of “illegal business operations,” could serve three years in prison.

Since the time of her husband’s arrest, Xu has only been able to see him twice from behind and has not been allowed to speak to him. If she wants information about him, she must hire a lawyer to visit him.

Despite the allegations against him, Xu says that they did not intend to profit from printing the materials.

Dissatisfied with his treatment, she went to the State Bureau of Letters and Calls in Guangzhou to petition for him, but her request was rejected. On March 1, she traveled to Beijing with her mother-in-law and an unnamed person to seek the audience of higher authorities, but, after being summoned by government personnel in Beijing, officials from her hometown followed her there and persuaded her to abandon the case and return to Guangzhou. They also promised they would keep investigating.

Two days later, Li Huajie, an officer from the Baiyun District Public Security Bureau, visited Xu at her home and brought officers to register her. She refused to let them in, and they urged her landlord to evict her.

Xu also refused to sign a “Responsibility of public security and fire control notice for rented houses,” and the police went immediately to her landlord and pressured him to sign it for her. Her lawyer claimed such notices were the jurisdiction of the fire department, not the public security bureau. Other families were exempted from this treatment.

Additionally, Li’s parents were evicted from their home.

Two court sessions have already been held for Li’s case, but no verdict has been reached. According to Marco, a pastor at Guangfu Church, the hearings were brief, and the government asked more questions about the church than they did about the selling of the books.

Meanwhile, Xu’s finances have reached a state of emergency. She only has enough money to feed her son for another month and could not pay his tuition fee, and she recently moved to a home that only costs 300 Yuan ($44.00 USD) per month.

China Aid reports abuses such as those suffered by Li and Xu in order to stand with persecuted Christians and promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law.

ChinaAid Media Team
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