Seven Christians stand trial on false cult charge



Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Christian Li Chunyu, who stood trial
April 27 on a falsified cult participation
charge, sits behind bars.
(Photo: ChinaAid)
ChinaAid

(Chuxiong, Yunnan—May 8, 2018) A court in China’s southwestern Yunnan province tried seven Christians falsely accused of cult participation on April 27 and forced many of them to fire their lawyers.

Liu Wei, Li Yunxiu, Hu Yuxin, Li Chunyu, Yao Jiaping, Zhong Yonggui, and Li Wanhong, all stood trial in Chuxiong, Yunnan, in late April, combatting charges of “organizing and using evil cults to disrupt law enforcement.” Authorities alleged that they participated in the Three Grades of Servants group, a religious organization the Chinese government regards as a cult, because they openly practiced their Christian faith. Li Guisheng, the lawyer hired to defend Li Wanhong, said officials coerced several of the defendants to fire their lawyers right before the trial and replace them with government-appointed lawyers. “Out of the seven defendants, originally only Hu Yuxin’s family said they did not want a lawyer. The others all had lawyers. Now, only three people have agreed to be represented by lawyers from outside [the government]. One is Liu Wei, one Liu Yunxiu, and the other is Li Chunyu. The others all accepted officially-appointed lawyers.”

Li Guisheng was one of the fired lawyers. He continued, “Lawyer Wang Yajun is ready to take over my job and defend Li Wanhong. Li Wanhong is a young woman born in 1994. Her parents are Christians. She is considered a primary defendant in the case. In the beginning, we communicated very well, and she told me that she didn’t commit any crimes. In the past four months, however, the court sent a notification to the detention centers, preventing the lawyers from meeting with the clients. In February, I went to visit my client at the detention center, and the guards blocked me.”

In mid-April, another lawyer tried to visit Li Wanhong but was refused on the same grounds. Of the incident, Li Guisheng said, “A woman surnamed Wen is the judge who presides over the criminal division. At that time, I was very angry. I said that the court should stop doing things under the table. They sent us notifications and acknowledged us as representative lawyers and, at the same time, notified the detention centers to turn us away. Judge Wen told me that it was Li Wanhong’s own intention to fire me that she wrote a note in January. I said that if the note was written in January, why did the court still recognize me as the representative lawyer and still send me the notifications until March?”

According to another lawyer, when the family-selected attorneys traveled to Chuxiong to sign their contracts, detention center officials turned them away, and one government agent claimed “two government-appointed lawyers have already taken over the case, and the court notified the detention centers to dismiss all lawyers.”

Before the hearing, the lawyers voluntarily hired by the defendants filed a complaint, demanding to meet with the accused, and the government finally granted their request. They asked that the bailiffs stand near the door, where they would be able to watch the defendants but not overhear their conversations. This sparked a fierce argument between them, and Wang Yajun was thrown out of the court before being invited back later.

During the prosecution process, the court accused the lawyers of “operating illegally” and “lacking the qualifications of a representative lawyer.”

Yunnan authorities began the crackdown on the Three Grades of Servants in 2016 and took 200 Christians into custody. Currently, 40 of them are still imprisoned, many have been harshly sentenced, and some of their lawyers have come arbitrarily under review. Last December, a court in Lincang, Yunnan, sentenced six Christians to up to 13 years in prison.

ChinaAid exposes abuses, such as those suffered by these Christians in Yunnan and the corrupt practices to block the legitimate human rights lawyers representing them, in order to stand in solidarity with persecuted church members and promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law.



Chuxiong Municipal People’s Procuratorate

Indictment Statement

Criminal Indictment Document number: [2007] 228

Defendant Liu Wei: Female. Birth date: April 1, 1982. Citizen Identification Number: 23070198204010222. Ethnicity: Han. Education: Middle school. Occupation: Farmer. Permanent Address: Group 14, Shenglin Committee, Wuyingqu Street, Yichun, Heilongjiang Heilongjiang. In 2005, she was sentenced to three years of labor discipline in Jinzhong, Shanxi for engaging in organized illegal cult activities. On Oct. 21, 2016, she was arrested and put in criminal detention by the Chuxiong police for organizing cult activities and destructing law enforcement. On Nov. 26, 2016, the formal arrest was granted by the Chuxiong Municipal People's Procuratorate and executed by the Chuxiong police.

Defendant Li Yunxiu: Female. Birth date: Sept. 9, 1974. Citizen Identification Number: 532801197409091129. Ethnicity: Han. Education: Middle school. Occupation: Farmer. Permanent Address: Number 20, Shucaidui Village, Chengzi Village Committee, Jinghog, Yunnan. No prior criminal record. On Dec. 24, 2016, she was arrested and put in criminal detention by the Chuxiong police for organizing cult activities and destructing law enforcement. On Jan. 19, 2017, the formal arrest was granted by Chuxiong Municipal People's Procuratorate and executed by the Chuxiong police.

Defendant Hu Yuxin: Female. Birth date: January 4, 2000. Citizen Identification Number: 532323200001040067. Ethnicity: Han. Education: Middle school. Occupation: None. Permanent Address: Number 19, Hushan Village, Huaxing Village Committee, Gonghe Town, Moding County, Yunnan. No prior criminal record. On Nov. 11, 2016, she was arrested and put in criminal detention by the Chuxiong police for organizing cult activities and destructing law enforcement. On Nov. 26, 2016, the formal arrest was granted by the Chuxiong Municipal People's Procuratorate and executed by the Chuxiong police.

Defendant Li Chunyu (alias Meilin): Female. Birth date: February 15, 1987. Citizen Identification Number: 532926198702150527. Ethnicity: Han. Education: Elementary school. Occupation: farmer. Permanent Address: Number 81, Group home 4 Dawawu Village, Longfeng Village Committee, Yongcui Township, Nanjian County, Yunnan Province. No prior criminal record. On Oct. 21, 2016, she was arrested and put in criminal detention by the Chuxiong police for organizing cult activities and destructing law enforcement. On Nov. 26, 2016, the formal arrest was granted by the Chuxiong Municipal People's Procuratorate and executed by the Chuxiong police.

Defendant Li Wanhong: Male. Birth date: November 13, 1994. Resident Identification Number: 532301199411130336. Ethnicity: Yi. Education: Middle school. Occupation: Farmer. Permanent Address: Number 2, Anduimen Village, Daju Village Committee, Donggua Town, Chuxiong, Yunnan. No prior criminal record. On Oct. 20, 2016, he was arrested and put in criminal detention by the Chuxiong police for organizing cult activities and destructing law enforcement. On Nov. 26, 2016, the formal arrest was granted by the Chuxiong Municipal People's Procuratorate and executed by the Chuwei police.

Defendant Yao Jiaping: Male. Birth date: Sept. 12, 1964. Citizen Identification Number: 532323196409121718. Ethnicity: Han. Education: Middle school. Occupation: Farmer. Permanent Address: Number 5, Yaojia Village, Zhoushan Village Committee, Gonghe Town, Moding County, Yunnan. No prior criminal record. On Oct. 21, 2016, he was arrested and put in criminal detention by the Moding County police for organizing cult activities and destructing law enforcement. On Nov. 26, 2016, the formal arrest was granted by Chuwei County People's Procuratorate and executed by the Chuwei County police.

Defendant Zhong Yonggui: Male. Birth date: Oct. 8, 1971. Citizen Identification Number: 532324197110080916. Ethnicity: Han. Education: Middle school. Occupation: Farmer. Permanent Address: Number 3, Zhongjia Village, Suochang Village Committee, Shaqiao Town, Nanhua County, Chuxiong Yizu Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan. No prior criminal record. On Oct. 31, 2016, he was placed under secured pending trial by the Nanhua County police for organizing cult activities and destructing law enforcement.

The Chuxiong Yizu Autonomous Prefecture police has completed the criminal investigation of this case. Defendants Liu Wei, Li Yunxiu, Hu Yuxin, Zhong Yonggui, Li Wanhong, Li Chunyu, and Yao Jiaping are indicted for organizing cult activities and destructing law enforcement and have entered the judicial process. On March 2, 2017, the Chuxiong Prefecture People's Procuratorate assigned this case to the Chuxiong MunicipalPeople's Procuratorate [this DA office]. This DA office sent the notice to all of the defendants’ attorneys on the day of the assignment and has interviewed all defendants, heard all arguments of the defendants’ attorneys, and reviewed all documents. During the process, the indictment review deadline was extended twice; the police department was asked to provide additional documents twice.

According to the judicial review on this case, the following facts were found:

I. The criminal facts regarding defendant Liu Wei, defendant Li Yunxiu, defendant Hu Yuxin, and defendant Zhong Yonggui:

a. Defendant Liu Wei and defendant Li Yunxiu visited the house of Ma Jianzhen and Luo Mei, located in Hongtopo Gongrenxin Village, Jinshan Town, Lufeng County Lufeng County; the house of Wang Pinglan, Bi Meizhen, and Xu Cuiming, located in Caiyun Town; the house of Tong Liying, Guo Yingwen, and Zhong Yonggui, located in Nanhua County; and the house of Zhang Guoquan, located in Ganzheyuan Village, Liushutang Village, Shiyang Town, Dayao County to organize meetings, make connections, and conduct religious activities. On Oct. 21, 2016, during the 3.15 taskforce of the case closing movement, the following materials were found in defendant Liu Wei’s rental apartment located in Jingjiaxiao Community, Kaifa District, Chuxiong: six copies of the book Conquerors, 72 copies of promotional documents, 29 copies of DVDs, 199 pieces of SD cards, eight broadcast machines, two USBs, and 340,821 pieces of electronic documents. The cult prevention and the handling task center of Yunnan Provincial Police Department identified those materials as the propaganda materials of the cult the Three Grades of Servants. 
b. Defendant Liu Wei, defendant Li Yunxiu, defendant Hu Yuxin, and Yao Yongbin (of another case) used the equipment, such as computers and printers, located at Number 27-1, Zhaojiawan Village, Zhanjia Community, Donggua Town, Chuxiong to produce books titled Pilgrim’s Progress, Daily Light, The Power of Prayer, Spiritual Discipline, Letters to Suffering Christians, Traditions of Chinese Medicine, etc. Ju Dianhong (of another case) came to this location to conduct review editing. On Oct. 21, 2016, during the 3.15 taskforce of the case closing movement, the following materials were found in this location: one printer-copier machine, paper cutter, three desktop computers, one laptop computer, blank copy paper, 1,831 books, 2,556 copies of promotional documents, 11 video-watching machines, five reading machines, six broadcast machines, two cell phones, one hard disk, one USB, and 82,816 pieces of electronic documents. The cult prevention and handling task center of the Yunnan Provincial Police Department identified those materials as the propaganda materials of the Three Grades of Servants cult. 
c. During the winter break of 2016, defendant Liu Wei, defendant Li Yunxiu, and defendant Hu Yuxin organized youth gatherings at the home of defendant Zhong Yonggui for religious meetings and activities. Defendant Zhong Yonggui purchased sleeping pads and beddings to provide comfortable room and board conditions for defendant Liu Wei and defendant Li Yunxiu to organize religious meetings.

II. The criminal facts regarding defendant Li Wanhong, defendant Yao Jiaping, and defendant Li Chunyu.


a. Defendant Li Wanhong, under the command of Ju Dianhong (of another case), organized meetings and activities, made connections, and provided transportation for the “Three Grades of Servants” cult. On Oct. 22, 2016, during the 3.15 taskforce of case closing movement, defendant Li Wanhong and Ju Dianhong (of another case) were arrested. The following materials were found on them: 11 media players, two SD cards, and 1,387 pieces of electronic documents. The cult prevention and handling task center of the Yunnan Provincial Police Department identified those materials as the propaganda materials of the cult “Three Grades of Servants.”

b. Defendant Li Chunyu (also known as Meilin), defendant Li Wanhong, Ju Dianhong (of another case), Liang Qin (of another case), and Dong Liying (of another case) visited the following homes to organize meetings, make connections, and conduct religious activities: the home of Ban Hofang, located in Qianhu Village, Shahe Town, Shuangjiang County, Lincang; the home of Cao Wenyao, located at Number 18, Longtang Group, Xinmin Village Committee, Dazhai Town, Yun County; the home of Xiao Weiming located at Group 12, Bantuo Village Committee, Yanshuai Town, Cangyuan County; the home of Xu Changti located at Dapingzhang Group, Songlin Village Committee, Guodazhai Town, Fengqing; the home of Zhang Zhenghua, located at Manping Group, Ganpo Village Committee, Fu Town, Yun County; the home of Zhang Shaocai, located at Zhongliangzi Group, Wenwu Village Committee, Dachaoshanxi Town, Yun County; home of Yang Zhengqin, located at Room 202, Unit 1, Building 2, Kangde Community, Yongde County, Lincang; the home of Yang Xuelan, located at Room 5, Number 5, Yongdebei Road, Dedang Town, Yongde County. Defendant Li Chunyu went to the home of Yao Jiaping, located at Number 5, Yaojia Village, Zhoushan Village Committee, Gonghe Town, Moding County, Chuxiong, numerous times to organize religious activities with Yao Jiaping, Wen Fucong, Mao Tianqin, and Yao Chao. Defendant Li Chunyu possessed two portable media players containing 3,282 pieces of electronic media documents. The cult prevention and handling task center of the Yunnan Provincial Police Department identified those materials as the propaganda materials of the cult “Three Grades of Servants.”

c. Defendant Yao Jiaping provided sleeping pads, bedding, desks, sound equipment, and room and board for defendant Li Chunyu to organize meetings and religious activities. During 2015, defendant Yao Jiaping organized religious activities in his home twice, inviting Mao Tianqing, Yao Jiawang, and Liu Qingfeng to participate. On Oct. 21, 2016, during the 3.15 taskforce of case closing movement, the following materials were found in the home of defendant Yao Jiaping: 57 copies of books, 109 copies of paper documents, 31 DVDs, one computer, two USBs, two Jinghe media player sound equipment, one Daileduo media player, 2,057 pieces of electronic media documents. The cult prevention and handling task center of the Yunnan Provincial Police Department identified those materials as the propaganda materials of the cult “Three Grades of Servants.”
The confiscated materials, defendants’ confessions, witness testimonies, and identified written records all are entered as evidence to support the above facts.

The DA’s office found that defendant Liu Wei, defendant Li Yunxiu, and defendant Hu Yuxin produced books as cult propaganda materials and organized and engaged in cult activities; defendant Liu Wei possessed and distributed cult propaganda materials; defendant Zhong Yonggui provided room and board for cult activities; defendant Li Wanhong provided room and board for cult activities and possessed cult propaganda materials for distribution; defendant Li Chunyu actively engaged in cultic religious activities and possessed cult propaganda materials for distribution; defendant Yao Jiaping provided room and board for cult activities, engaged in cult activities, and possessed cult propaganda materials for distribution. According to Article 300 of the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China, the criminal facts are clear and the evidence is proven sufficient. Therefore, defendants should bear the criminal responsibility based on the indictment of organizing cult activities and destroying law enforcement. According to Articles 25, 26, and 27 of the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China, defendant Hu Yuxing, defendant Zhong Yonggui, defendant Li Wanhong, defendant Li Chunyu, and defendant Yao Jiaping are accessory accomplices; therefore a decreased sentence should be considered. According to Article 68 and Article 67, Clause 3 of the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China, defendant Li Wanhong cooperated during the investigation; therefore, a decreased sentence should be considered. According to Article 67, Clause 3 of the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China, defendant Hu Yuxin was not adult when he committed the crime, and he cooperated during the investigation; therefore a decreased sentence should be considered. According to Article 67, Clause 3 of the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China, defendant Zhong Yonggui and defendant Yao Jiaping both cooperated during the investigation; therefore, a decreased sentence should be considered. According to Article 172 of the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China, this DA’s office presents this public indictment and asks for sentencing according to the law.

To the Chuxiong Municipal People’s Court

Appendix:

a. Defendant Liu Wei, defendant Li Yunxiu, defendant Hu Yuxin, and defendant Li Chunyu are detained in Chuxiong Prefecture Detention Center. Defendant Li Wanhong is detained in the Chuxiong Municipal Detention Center. Defendant Yao Jiaping is detained at the Moding County Detention Center. Defendant Zhong Yonggui is under secured pending trial at his residence (phone: 13987811849).

b. Seventeen volumes of case documents and evidences are attached.


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