Christian woman's trial to take place this month, court claims

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Zhang Xiuhong (center) will soon be tried for a trumped up
charge of "illegal business operations."
(Photo: China Aid)
China Aid
Reported in Chinese by Qiao Nong. Translated by Carolyn Song. Written in English by Brynne Lawrence.

(Guiyang, Guizhou—Sept. 14, 2016) Charged with “illegal business operations,” a Christian woman, detained for more than a year, awaits trial after the court convened to discuss her hearing earlier last month.

In late July 2015, authorities took Zhang Xiuhong, an accountant who chaired Huoshi Church’s board, into custody for withdrawing church funds at her beauty shop. The local Procuratorate formally arrested her on Sept. 1, 2015. In March, the court initiated trial procedures, which culminated in a pretrial meeting last month. Zhang’s defense lawyers, Xiao Yunyang and Li Guisheng, attended the pretrial, but the defendant was not present.

According to Xiao, the court addressed concerns related to the trial, and only conferred for 30 minutes. Although it still needs to release an official date for the hearing, they projected it to take place this month.

Similar pretrials occurred last July for Wang Yao and Yu Lei, attendees of Huoshi Church who were accused of “divulging state secrets.” They were apprehended on Dec. 9, 2015, along with Yang Hua, whose pretrial conference is expected to take place soon. However, the government used recently imposed strictures to withhold information about these meetings.

China Aid reports on cases such as the unlawful detentions of Zhang, Wang, Yu and Yang, in order to expose human rights abuses by the Chinese government.

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