Court document: CCP sentenced two believers of Local Church, reportedly a “heretical organization”



Thursday, September 2, 2021


May 2020 verdict in Beijing, Fangshan District criminal case: Jing 0111 Crime 1st Trial No. 273, 
page 01/16.
(Photo: ChinaAid resource)

(Beijing [primarily Hebei Province]—September 02, 2021) Recently, ChinaAid obtained a copy of the verdict of a criminal case in Beijing, Fangshan District Court issued in May 2020. This document reveals that Beijing Chinese Communist Party (CCP) authorities sentenced two believers of the Local Church, Lin Xianzan and Chen Guanji, to three years on a [fabricated] charge of “sabotaging law enforcement by organizing and using heretical organizations.” The court also fined these two Christians 300 yuan (46.45 United States Dollars).


As Beijing Chinese Communist Party (CCP) authorities have intensified control and cracked down on religions since Xi Jinping assumed power in 2012, they have ruthlessly persecuted religious groups defined as “heretical organizations.” Persecution of the Assembly, a Christianity cult, not familiar to most non-Christians, has escalated over the past few years, as well as persecution of Falun Gong, Eastern Lightning, and the Shouters, with authorities arbitrarily arresting and sentencing a myriad of members.

When CCP police raided the gathering of one Local Church in Beijing in 2019, they deported visitors from Taiwan and a Hongkong Local Church. When authorities released Yim, a female believer, on bail, she fled to the United States and obtained asylum.
On July 1, 2019, CCP authorities seized Chen Guanji and Lin Xianzan, leaders of South 2 campus and South 3 campus of a Beijing Local Church. On August 8, 2019, authorities arrested and detained these two leaders in Beijing, Fangshan District Detention Center. On May 22, 2020, the Beijing, Fangshan District procuratorate prosecuted Lin Xianzan and Chen Guanji on a charge of “sabotaging law enforcement by organizing and using cult organizations." 

The verdict discloses that Lin Xianzan and Chen Guanji organized more than 40 believers of the Local Church to study the Recovery Version of the Bible at Jiazhou Shuijun Plaza Rooms 301 & 302, Changyang Town, Fangshan District, Beijing from June 28–July 1, 2020. On July 1 that year, Beijing, Fangshan District police broke into the rooms, and seized Lin Xianzan, Chen Guanji and others. CCP authorities also confiscated 53 kinds of books, including the Recovery Version of the Bible, Life New Testament, Life Old Testament—603 books, and four other items— in total 1350 pieces of church property.

When Lin Xianzan and Chen Guanji defended themselves, they stated:

Beijing Local Church is not a heretical organization, so we did not commit a crime.

Li Guisheng and He Bin, attorneys for Lin Xianzan, and Attorneys Zhao Yonglin and Song Yusheng, legal representatives for Chen Guanji also presented a defense of innocence for Lin Xianzan and Chen Guanji, arguing:

  • organizing a Bible study constitutes a normal religious practice of Lin Xianzan and Chen Guanji—not a crime. 
  • the Public Security department’s investigation does not align with common sense; 
  • Lin Xianzan and Chen Guanji did not attempt to sabotage law enforcement by using the heretical organizations,
  • nor did they sabotage law enforcement using the heretical organizations.
  • Insufficient evidence or no evidence of sabotaging law enforcement by using the heretical organizations exists in the case.
Nevertheless, Beijing, Fangshan District Court officials did not accept Lin Xianzan and Chen Guanji’s self-defense nor the thoughts of their defense attorneys.

Chinese Local Church, a significant branch of house churches in mainland China, distinguished from traditional house churches, however, also differs from “three-self” churches. Similar to house Churches, they remain hidden due to the CCP authorities' long-term intense oppression, and unique historic reasons. Even though, the CCP’s crackdown on the Local Church has escalated and spread nationwide over the past few years, few people know about their persecution.

In May, ChinaAid learned that CCP authorities had arrested and sentenced Christians of the Local Church in Wuxi, Jiangsu and Nanning, Guangxi.

 Reverend Bob Fu, Ph.D., president of China Aid, called this present time, "the darkest of CCP’s 40-year persecution against religion." Dr. Fu stressed:


The approach the CCP has heavily used in the past years, the heretical organizations, asserts that all religions will be regarded as heretical organizations, if they are not willing to comply with CCP ideology, nor subject themselves to the CCP. Now, however, CCP has begun a new series of religious persecution against Churches of the “Local Church,” recognized as an authentic Church across the world, claiming that it constitutes a "heretical organization."

Some call the Local Church, a Christianity denomination which Watchman Nee and Witness Lee, renown Chinese Christian leaders, founded in 1921, “Lord’s Recovery” and “Little Flock." Its origin, as well as some unique parts of the denomination, relate to Plymouth Brethren. 


Meanwhile, in the United States, and other countries, mainstream Christianity accepts the Local Church, a branch of “evangelical” Christians.

In 1983, CCP officials defined the Shouters and others as "heretical organizations" and cracked down on them. In 1995, CCP authorities categorized the Local Church—an independent denomination of Protestants which Witness Lee founded, under the Shouters. CCP officials also regard the Recovery Version of the Bible, Morning Revival, and other books and magazines the Local Church uses as publications of “heretical organizations.”

The following depict the verdict in the criminal case by Beijing, Fangshan District in May 2020: (2020) Jing 0111 Crime 1st Trial No. 273:

May 2020 verdict in Beijing, Fangshan District criminal case: Jing 0111 Crime 1st Trial No. 273, 
page 01/16.
(Photo: ChinaAid resource)


May 2020 verdict in Beijing, Fangshan District criminal case: Jing 0111 Crime 1st Trial No. 273, 
page 02/16.
(Photo: ChinaAid resource)


May 2020 verdict in Beijing, Fangshan District criminal case: Jing 0111 Crime 1st Trial No. 273, 
page 03/16.
(Photo: ChinaAid resource)


May 2020 verdict in Beijing, Fangshan District criminal case: Jing 0111 Crime 1st Trial No. 273, 
page 04/16.
(Photo: ChinaAid resource)


May 2020 verdict in Beijing, Fangshan District criminal case: Jing 0111 Crime 1st Trial No. 273, 
page 05/16.
(Photo: ChinaAid resource)


May 2020 verdict in Beijing, Fangshan District criminal case: Jing 0111 Crime 1st Trial No. 273, 
page 06/16.
(Photo: ChinaAid resource)


May 2020 verdict in Beijing, Fangshan District criminal case: Jing 0111 Crime 1st Trial No. 273, 
page 07/16.
(Photo: ChinaAid resource)


May 2020 verdict in Beijing, Fangshan District criminal case: Jing 0111 Crime 1st Trial No. 273, 
page 08/16.
(Photo: ChinaAid resource)




May 2020 verdict in Beijing, Fangshan District criminal case: Jing 0111 Crime 1st Trial No. 273, 
page 09/16.
(Photo: ChinaAid resource)



May 2020 verdict in Beijing, Fangshan District criminal case: Jing 0111 Crime 1st Trial No. 273, 
page 10/16.
(Photo: ChinaAid resource)

 

May 2020 verdict in Beijing, Fangshan District criminal case: Jing 0111 Crime 1st Trial No. 273, 
page 11/16.
(Photo: ChinaAid resource)


May 2020 verdict in Beijing, Fangshan District criminal case: Jing 0111 Crime 1st Trial No. 273, 
page 12/16.
(Photo: ChinaAid resource)



May 2020 verdict in Beijing, Fangshan District criminal case: Jing 0111 Crime 1st Trial No. 273, 
page 13/16.
(Photo: ChinaAid resource)

           

May 2020 verdict in Beijing, Fangshan District criminal case: Jing 0111 Crime 1st Trial No. 273, 
page 14/16.
(Photo: ChinaAid resource)


May 2020 verdict in Beijing, Fangshan District criminal case: Jing 0111 Crime 1st Trial No. 273, 
page 15/16.
(Photo: ChinaAid resource)


May 2020 verdict in Beijing, Fangshan District criminal case: Jing 0111 Crime 1st Trial No. 273, 
page 16/16.
(Photo: ChinaAid resource)


~ ChinaAid Association Special Reporter

 

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Vindicate me, O God, 
And plead my cause against an ungodly nation; 
Oh, deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man! 
For You are the God of my strength;
                                                                                                            ~ Psalm 43:1–2a (NKJV)

 


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