Monday, December 7, 2009

Linfen Church Leaders Prepare to Appeal, Court Proceedings Revealed

December 7, 2009

SHANXI--Over the weekend, ChinaAid received a first-hand testimony on the court proceedings from one of the defense lawyers and summary of the case held for Linfen Church Leaders Yang Rongli, Wang Xiaoguang, Yang Xuan, Cui Jiaxing, and Zhang Huamei on November 25, 2009. From calling the lawyers ahead of time to "collaborate" on the court proceedings, to interrupting their defense, the lawyers watched as the pre-determined court hearing was met with one procedural oversight after another. Despite solid, well-crafted defense statements from their lawyers, evidence from the lawyer's testimony indicates the Linfen Church leaders received no more than a show trial, with a predetermined outcome and blatant oversight to judicial proceedings.


Read the Defense Statement for Pastor Yang Rongli, delivered by Attorney Wang Hongjie on Nov. 25, 2009.

Prior to the trial, the lawyers defending the case held a seminar on the "Tianjing Missionary Case and Religious Freedom" on November 21, 2009. Scholars and lawyers including Fan Yafeng, Xia Kejun, Chen Yongmiao, Li Fangping, Zhang Kai, Jiang Tianyong, Dai Jinbo and Wu Chenglian attended the Christian Lawyers Communion event. In the first part, Dai Jinbo introduced the Linfen Missionary Case and its latest developments, giving a primary legal analysis on the charges against the pastors, and setting forth the primary defending views. Afterwards, the members of Christian Lawyers Communion and guests commented and discussed his speech. In the second part, constitutional scholar Fan Yafeng gave a primary analysis on the overall situation. Professor Xia Kejun then analyzed the current rights movement of family churches related to the freedom of belief. Read the full Summary of Seminar on Linfen Missionary Case and Religious Freedom.

On December 3, ChinaAid confirmed that the families of Gao Qin (a.k.a. Gao Fuqin) and Zhao Guo'ai had officially signed the Notification-to-Family paper on the morning of Dec. 1. Both women were arbitrarily sentenced to two years Re-education through Labor, along with the other three pastors whose families previously confirmed their sentences. Among the five, Li Shuanping is serving his sentence at the Yaodu District Detention Center in Linfen City, Shanxi. The four female pastors, including Yang Caizhen, Yang Hongzhen, Gao Qin and Zhao Guo'ai, are serving their terms at the Re-Education Through Labor Center for Women of Taiyuan City, Shanxi province. The families of the five arbitrarily detained pastors have vowed to file an administrative appeal alongside the five pastors who were criminally tried and sentenced on November 25.

ChinaAid has now hired lawyers for nine of the ten sentenced Linfen Church leaders to launch the appeals; Brother Cui Jiaxing's family, under extreme pressure and high expenses, was forced to hired lawyers through the government for his appeal separately. President Bob Fu is sobered by the turn of events. "It will require a big sum of legal defense expenses to defend these pastors, but it is worth the fight. We must prepare for the worst, and empower these lawyers and persecuted believers unwaveringly." ChinaAid further plans to raise support to send money to the families of the prisoners to help offset the hardships incurred during the trial and appeal process.

ChinaAid calls on the international community to pray for the leaders of Linfen Church and for the success of their appeal for release. We further encourage supporters to contact their authorities to urge for the immediate release of these ten pastors: Wang Xiaoguang, Yang Rongly, Yang Xuan, Cui Jiaxing, Zhang Huamei, Gao Qin, Zhao guo'ai, Li Shuanping, Yang Caizhen, and Yang Hongzhen.

Voice your concern to the authorities, and send messages of support to the prisoners:

Re-Education Through Labor Center for Women of Taiyuan City, Shanxi province.
No. 28, Xindian Street, Xinghua Ling District
Taiyuan City, Shanxi province, 030003
Tel: +86-351-2785805.

Linfen City Authorities:
Secretary of Linfen City, Shanxi Province: +0-357-202-6513
Secretary of Linfen Committee Office: +0-357-209-0427
Office of United Front Work in Linfen: +0-357-209-0527
Linfen Bureau of Public Security: +0-357-218-8317
Linfen Office of Petition: +0-357-209-1341


For English-speakers, contact the Chinese Embassy in Washington:
Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong
3505 International Place, NW, Washington, D.C. 20008
Tel: (202) 495-2000
Fax: (202) 588-9760

NOTE: If you are a citizen of another country, please click here to find the contact information of the Chinese embassy in your own nation http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/eng/wjb/zwjg/2490/.

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