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Critical evidence in pending Enyu bookstore case appears in book market in Taiyuan

Friday, August 23, 2013

China Aid Association
August 23, 2013

This picture shows Enyu books that
were illegally sold by the government.
Editor’s note: China Aid previously reported on the Enyu bookstore case, the first being a detailed description of the defense to be presented by Li Wenxi’s lawyer, Zhu Jiuhu (http://www.chinaaid.org/2013/05/defense-lawyers-argument-in-li-wenxi.html) and the second being the verdict of the first hearing handed down on June 17, 2013 (http://www.chinaaid.org/2013/06/verdict-regarding-enyu-bookstores-case.html).

Thousands of Christian books, determined to be key evidence in the pending Enyu bookstore case, recently appeared on shelves in Nangong Second-hand Book Market in the city of Taiyuan. The individuals who purchased these books found a tell-tale oval signet in them—the signet used by the Enyu bookstore.

The books represent the sum of evidence that the government used to prosecute bookstore managers Ren Lacheng and Li Wenxi. The case is presently pending in the Intermediate Court of Taiyuan. However, it appears that the government intended to turn a profit by selling the seized merchandise. Despite this being a common practice, the occurrence sparked a heated debate on the Internet when the news broke on Aug. 19, 2013.

Individuals familiar with the Enyu bookstore said it was customary for Enyu to print its signet in each book to be sold. These individuals claimed that the shape and wording of the symbol matched Enyu’s exactly. In the short time since the bookstore opened its doors, it has been disturbed by more than 10 government agencies. As a result, the bookstore rarely sells large quantities of books at the same time. Because so many books were being sold in the same place at the same time, it seemed obvious to those individuals familiar with Enyu that these were the books that had been seized by police and the Culture Bureau in Taiyuan in 2012.

Enyu bookstore after being raided.
The case originally began on March 28, 2012 when dozens of workers from seven different government agencies, including the Culture Bureau, Religious Affairs Bureau, and the local police, raided the Enyu bookstore. The workers seized all books, other articles not for sale, computers, documents, bank cards and more. The Public Security Bureau and Culture Bureau came again to the bookstore on June 2, 2012, and seized the bookstore’s sales permit and all the Bibles in the warehouse. Public Security Bureau officers called Li and told him they could send the seized books back on Nov. 18, 2012.

When Li traveled to Taiyuan to collect the books, Public Security Bureau officials abducted him and to this day, still have not sent his family an arrest notice. The same day, the leader of a house church in Taiyuan was also arrested by the Public Security Bureau and has been out of contact since. These acts on the part of the Taiyuan government are a sign of a long-term persecution campaign against underground Christian movements. Some workers dealing with this persecution campaign said it was the largest they had seen. All of these events aimed at persecuting the church are collectively referred to at the March 28 Enyu case.

The case was first heard on May 9, 2013 in a Taiyuan court. Ren was sentenced to five years in prison and Li was sentenced to two years by Judge Meng Xiaoxia from the Xiaodian district in Taiyuan. Meng sentenced Ren and Li to spend a half day in prison for every $.16 in book revenue. Some Internet users claimed to have found that this sentence made Meng the current Guinness World record holder for the heaviest jail sentence determined by economic means; however, the reporter could find no evidence to support the claim. Despite the lack of evidence, there is no doubt that the penalty given to Ren and Li was indeed hefty. Supposedly, the amount of money used to determine the sentence was 5000 yuan.
These are some of the books the the Shangxi Province Public
Security Bureau claimed are illegal publications. The title of 
the book on the right is The Top Ten Mistakes Leaders Make.

However, because almost all of the 4557 books initially seized have been sold, there is a chance that the sentence handed down by Meng will not hold up when appealed. This loss of critical evidence means that evidence benefiting the court no longer exists. Along with not having a witness for the prosecution, the effectiveness of the remaining evidence is very small.

Li Caihong, Li’s wife, angrily commented on the loss of evidence in her husband’s case via Sina Weibo, a Chinese social networking site. The consensus of members on Weibo is that the action of the Taiyuan police is shameful and that the Public Security Bureau is lawless. Accordingly, they stated that the Public Security Bureau sold the seized book as an attempt to maintain stability and make money. These netizens also believe the Taiyuan government is trampling the rule of law society. However, some Weibo users believe that the selling of the books can have some positive repercussions. They said that because these books are good and help spread the Gospel, even though they are being sold by the government, “maybe God can still use them to do good.”
These are some of the Enyu books that Enyu bought back
when they showed up on the shelves of a second-hand 
bookstore.

A China Aid reporter contacted Ren and Li’s defense lawyers. The lawyers explicitly confirmed that it is heavily illegal to sell evidence; however, they were not clear as to what effect this loss of evidence will have on the case.

This has left many wondering how the court will hear the case in the upcoming appeal. Will the judge once again ignore the laws and take orders from the Public Security Bureau? China Aid will continue to keep a close eye on the case and prays that the case ends up in the hands of a virtuous, lawful judge.



China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
Website: www.chinaaid.org


"Bob Fu has dedicated his life to bringing freedom of religion to the Chinese people. His story is a testimony to the power of faith and an inspiration to people struggling to break free from oppression."
—Mrs. Laura Bush

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