Shandong court rejects businessman’s appeal against ‘cult’ charges

Thursday, November 19, 2015

A translation of the Linyi Municipal Intermediate Court’s
ruling about Yan Shubing’s verdict
 is available upon request.
(Photo: China Aid)
 China Aid 
Translated by Carolyn Song. Written and edited in English by Ava Collins.

(Linyi, Shandong—Nov. 19, 2015) In early October, the Linyi Municipal Intermediate People’s Court upheld the original verdict of a Shandong Christian accused of cult crimes for owning books used by the Local Church movement.

Yan Shubing, a Christian businessman, was detained May 23, 2014, and sentenced to four years in prison on Dec. 16, 2014 for “using a cult organization to undermine law enforcement” because he owned books distributed by the Local Church.

The Local Church is a movement started by Watchman Nee and Witness Lee. A branch known as the Shouters, named for their reputation of loud and public prayer, is based upon the same books and teachings, especially those of Witness Lee, but is not always synonymous with the Local Church. The Chinese government typically makes no distinction between the two and recognizes both groups as cults.

A translation of the appeal on behalf of Yan
Shubing is available upon request.
(Photo: China Aid)
Yan’s appeal denied that he was a member of the group, arguing that “favoring a faction’s books does not necessarily mean the collector is a member [of said faction].” The appeal made the point that, as the Shouters’ theology is based on Christianity, Yan had reason, as a Christian with different beliefs, to study their teachings, even if he did not agree with them.

Other arguments in the appeal reiterated that Yan cooperated with law enforcement and willingly gave a confession in the first trial, that the impact of his actions has not damaged society in any meaningful way, and that the four-year sentence was too severe for his charge.

The intermediate court rejected the appeal and upheld the original ruling without further investigation. The verdict stated: “This court believes the facts from the original court’s decision that the appellant Yan Shubing made use of a cult organization to undermine law enforcement are clear, and the evidence is sufficient.”

Yan is being held in the Linyi Municipal Detention Center.

China Aid often supports the legal defense of Chinese citizens in cases like this one, in order to encourage those facing religious persecution.

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