ICC Note: These seven Christians were arrested back in April and have just been charged by the Chinese government with engaging in "cult" activities. This is not an uncommon charge in China, which has banned various religious groups considered cults.
11/25/2012 China (ChinaAid) - Seven house church Christians in Henan province who were arrested in the spring have been charged with engaging in cult activities, but the believers and their church leaders say the government is framing them by accusing them of being part of the "Shouters."
Several Christian lawyers from Beijing are now involved in handling the case, which was supposed to go to trial on Nov. 27. But that hearing was suddenly canceled.
In May, ChinaAid reported that the Ye county house church was being persecuted by the local authorities, who had taken many believers into custody and were holding some under criminal detention.
On Oct. 19, the Ye County Procuratorate issued its indictment against Hu Linpo, Han Hai, Yang Lianbing, Wang En (female), Li Dan (female), Zhang Mian (female) and Cao Xia (female) on the charge of “using a cult meeting to interfere with law enforcement.” It said that they were taken into custody on April 14, 2012, at about 10 a.m. during a worship service, and that on April 20, they were criminally detained by the Ye County Public Security Bureau. On July 27, their case was turned over to the Ye county courts, who later handed the case back to the police for insufficient evidence. The public security bureau concluded after further investigation that the seven detainees and their meeting were all part of the cult group known as the "Shouters" because among the items confiscated from the meeting site was literature associated with the "Shouters," including a Recovery Version of the Bible.
But the church and its members deny being part of the "Shouters" and believe the public security bureau is deliberately framing them and trying to use the "cult" label to persecute them.
ChinaAid will continue to closely monitor the developments in this case, and calls on the Ye county authorities not to frame churches of pure faith but rather to protect according to the law the legitimate rights of citizens to freedom of religion.