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Yunnan Christians sentenced 4 to 6 years or sent for further trials

December 3, 2017 by admin

(Dali, Yunnan—Oct. 13, 2017) More than twenty Christian missionaries were tried in Yunnan, across several different districts on Oct. 6.

Many were given sentences between 4 and 6 years, while others were returned to the local procuratorate for further investigation.

Most of those tried had done missionary work in districts of Yunnan such as Lincang, Chuxiong, Dali, Zhaotong, Yuxi, Puer, Xishuangbanna and were accused of “sabotaging legal law enforcement and using evil religion.” During the indictment, the defendants were accused of participating in “Three Grades of Servants,” an unapproved religious group which the Chinese state denounces as a cult. None of the Christians arrested had even heard of the “Three Grades of Servants” group before the accusation and police found no books or materials relevant to the group in any of the Christians’ meeting places.

In the case of Tu Yan, one of the Christians detained in Dali, her trial was not completed. Rather, authorities returned the case to the procuratorate for further investigation. Tu Yan’s sister, Tu Kui, took this as a good sign, and a result of the media attention that Tu Yan’s arrest has received.

“For many of them,” Tu Kui said to a reporter, “their cases are finalized. They are sentenced to years in prison. It is because they remained silent and their families are poor. My family hired lawyers and visited the Dali four times. In addition you [the media] helped. That’s why the government does not dare [sentence Tu Yan.] The other arrested Christians are too obedient and mellow. Therefore they were sentenced to 4 to 6 years in prison.”

The Christians, who were detained last year, included Ju Dianhong, Liu Wei, Zhang Congying, Li Yunxiu, Li Min, and Li Shudong. Another pastor, Peng Huifen, was also detained around the same time but was released without trial. Some have been tried, while others continue to wait in detention for trial.

The lawyer representing Tu Yan’s case, Xiao Yunyang, echoed Tu Kei’s sentiments. “They told us [Tu Yan’s] case has been returned to the Dali Procuratorate. I would guess it is because they don’t have enough evidence. The government must handle it careful, because Lawyer Wang Zongyue and I are representing the case. If Tu Yan did not have lawyers, the government would just do whatever it wanted.”

ChinaAid exposes abuses such as the unjust court cases of the Yunnan Christians and works to provide legal representation to victims of persecution who face corrupt cases built on false charges.
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ChinaAid Media Team
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