Trial held for Geng Zejun



Tuesday, July 26, 2022




(Ningxia province, China— July 26, 2022) Geng Zejun refused to join the Three-Self Patriotic Church. Huinong District Court charged him with “organizing illegal gatherings” and recommended a sentence of 11 months. 

 



On July 13, officials conducted proceedings via video. Geng Zejun, also known as Geng Sanbao, led Panshi Church (Church of the Rock) in Huinong district, Shizuishan, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. The trial lasted nearly seven hours while Geng stayed in the detention center. He refused to cooperate with the authorities to plead guilty. A sentencing letter will be issued after half a month. 

 



On December 5, 2021, Church of the Rock held a Sunday service in a remote single-story house in a local water plant in Huinong district. Local state security personnel, police from the neighborhood police station, and personnel from the Religious Affairs Bureau raided their gathering. The authorities used “illegal Christian gatherings” and “severely disrupted the social order” as reasons to take the church attendees away for questioning; the elders presented were registered and sent back to their homes.  

 



The next day, preacher Geng Zejun was placed in administrative detention for 15 days in the name of “disrupting social order.” Geng Zejun’s wife, He Ying, and five other believers were detained by the police for 10 days and released on bail pending trial. Two weeks after his release, Geng Zejun was summoned again by the police on January 4, and the authorities detained him on suspicion of “organizing and sponsoring an illegal gathering.” Geng was formally arrested on January 25 and has been detained to this day. 

 


 

Hao Ying was unable to appear in court. She was grateful to some of the church members who came to accompany her. “Thank you all for your prayers, and I implore you to raise your hands together and ask the Lord to strengthen Brother Geng, make him strong and courageous, and filled with the glory of God.” 

 


 

The Chinese constitution stipulates that citizens have freedom of belief, but the religious policies implemented by China contradict themselves. These religious policies and regulations subject house churches to comprehensive surveillance and even repression if they refuse to join the Three-Self Patriotic Movement or refuse to accept the direct entrustment of their churches to government departments. China is the only country in the world that requires Christianity to join an organization like the Three-Self Patriotic Movement, which is a vassal of the regime. On the surface, this patriotic organization is spontaneously initiated by Christians, but in fact, it has been publicly or behind the scenes controlled by the Communist Party since its inception. The original purpose of its establishment was to unite the Christians, but it is now blatantly used as a measure of political allegiance in order to facilitate ideological control. 

 

 

The suppression of house churches is no longer news, and the intensity and scope of it have varied slightly during the reigns of different Communist Party leaders. But there is a phenomenon worth noting in recent years. High-level security departments in Beijing have mistakenly targeted house churches and preachers that clearly state being of the reformed faith. The Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu has been its main target. In recent years, the church has been ruthlessly suppressed. All churches and preachers who openly support Early Rain Covenant Church and Pastor Wang Yi may also become targets of surveillance or repression. This stemmed from the local authorities’ fear of Pastor Wang Yi’s outspoken criticism of social injustice. 

 


Geng Zejun and his congregation belong to the reformed faith and have refused to accept the management of the party-controlled Three-Self Patriotic Movement; from time to time, the church was monitored and suppressed by the Shizuishan city authorities.   

 


Geng Zejun’s place of custody: 

 


Shida Road, Shizui City, Huinong District, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region (Municipal Detention Center), Postal Code: 753000  

 



~Gao Zhensai, ChinaAid Special Correspondent  





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