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ICC Note: Here is more information on the Christians accused of causing problems at the protest of the destruction of the church in July

China Christians to stand trial

12/15/06 China (Reuters) – Eight Chinese Christians will stand trial accused of inciting violent resistance to the law after they protested the government’s destruction of a church, a Chinese dissident and a court official said on Friday.

The seven men and one woman from east China’s Zhejiang province were arrested after about 3,000 Christians in Xiaoshan — protested against the demolition of a church in July, Zan Aizong, a Christian dissident close to the Xiaoshan group.

An official from the Xiaoshan court also confirmed the case.

“The Christians will face trial at our court soon,” she said by telephone, but declined to comment further.

China ‘s ruling Communist Party is atheist but tolerates religions that accept official supervision.

Xiaoshan is home to tens of thousands of Protestant Christians, many of them traders or farmers wary of state control. In recent years, they have struggled with the government over approval to build their own churches.

“I think the government wants to get this case out of the way, because of the international pressure,” said Zan. “These people are church leaders in Xiaoshan with a lot of influence there. All but one were not even on the scene of the incident.”

Zan said the pre-Christmas trial is likely to stir resentment among local Christians. “They will be praying for them, and they are also willing to testify for them,” he said.

The eight are accused of “inciting violent resistance to enforcement of the law,” said Zan. They will be represented by defense attorneys, he added.

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