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Linfen Church Leaders Prepare to Appeal, Court Proceedings Revealed

ICC Note:

High profile Linfen Church case update

12/8/09 China (ChinaAid)–Over the weekend, ChinaAid received a first-hand testimony on the court proceedings from one of the defense lawyers and summary of the case held for Linfen Church Leaders Yang Rongli, Wang Xiaoguang, Yang Xuan, Cui Jiaxing, and Zhang Huamei on November 25, 2009. From calling the lawyers ahead of time to “collaborate” on the court proceedings, to interrupting their defense, the lawyers watched as the pre-determined court hearing was met with one procedural oversight after another. Read one of the defense lawyers’ “Report of Court Hearing for Linfen Church Case” proceedings on November 25, 2009. Despite solid, well-crafted defense statements from their lawyers, evidence from the lawyer’s testimony indicates the Linfen Church leaders received no more than a show trial, with a predetermined outcome and blatant oversight to judicial proceedings. Read the Defense Statements for Pastors Yang Rongli and Wang Xiaoguang delivered by Attorney Wang Hongjie on Nov. 25, 2009.

Prior to the trial, the lawyers defending the case held a seminar on the “Tianjing Missionary Case and Religious Freedom” on November 21, 2009. Scholars and lawyers including Fan Yafeng, Xia Kejun, Chen Yongmiao, Li Fangping, Zhang Kai, Jiang Tianyong, Dai Jinbo and Wu Chenglian attended the Christian Lawyers Communion event. In the first part, Dai Jinbo introduced the Linfen Missionary Case and its latest developments, giving a primary legal analysis on the charges against the pastors, and setting forth the primary defending views. Afterwards, the members of Christian Lawyers Communion and guests commented and discussed his speech. In the second part, constitutional scholar Fan Yafeng gave a primary analysis on the overall situation. Professor Xia Kejun then analyzed the current rights movement of family churches related to the freedom of belief. Read the full “Summary of Seminar on Linfen Missionary Case and Religious Freedom.”

On December 3, ChinaAid confirmed that the families of Gao Qin (a.k.a. Gao Fuqin) and Zhao Guo’ai had officially signed the Notification-to-Family paper on the morning of Dec. 1. Both women were arbitrarily sentenced to two years Re-education through Labor, along with the other three pastors whose families previously confirmed their sentences. Among the five, Li Shuanping is serving his sentence at the Yaodu District Detention Center in Linfen City, Shanxi. The four female pastors, including Yang Caizhen, Yang Hongzhen, Gao Qin and Zhao Guo’ai, are serving their terms at the Re-Education Through Labor Center for Women of Taiyuan City, Shanxi province. The families of the five arbitrarily detained pastors have vowed to file an administrative appeal alongside the five pastors who were criminally tried and sentenced on November 25.

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