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Court Upholds Decision Sentencing Two Henan Christians

ICC Note: Christians accused of forming cult and are sent to reeducation camps

8/4/10 China (ChinaAid) — On July 21, 2010, Weidu District Court of Xuchang Municipality of Henan province ruled in the trial of first instance on the administrative lawsuit in which the Christians Gao Jianli and Liu Yunhua sued Shangqiu Municipal Committee. The court upheld the administrative decision sentencing the two plaintiffs to one year in re-education through labor.

Gao Jianli and Liu Yunhua were sentenced to re-education through labor for organizing a house church that is different in organization and doctrine from the government-approved Three-Self Church, and for not yielding to the local police’s demands for bribery. According to an unpublicized secret document from the Ministry of Public Security, the Full Scope Church they organized is a cult. They claim the church was harmful to society because church members cry and weep during prayers, and because they founded a Sunday school for their children.

During the trial of first instance, the attorney representing Gao Jianli and Liu Yunhua emphasized the following points:

  1. The major legal basis by which Gao and Liu are considered to have violated the law were never made public. There is no way citizens can know of and abide by unpublished law in advance. Therefore, Gao and Liu cannot have violated the law on the legal basis that was never made public.

  2. The definition of a cult is a spiritual matter, a matter of conscience. Therefore, there is no way the law or a judicial agent may define it.

  3. The pain during prayers does not cause harm to the society.

  4. Providing the same education in ethics and faith to children of Christians as to their parents is necessary for the harmony of family and the wholesome development of children.

Despite these, the court of trial of first instance still upheld their administrative decision sentencing them to one year in re-education through labor.

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