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ICC Note: Two Christians in China received sentences of 11 days of detention in April of 2015 for leading Bible-based lessons for children. The two Christians, Lou Nannan and Zhang Hong-En have since filed a lawsuit with a local court after their first attempt to overturn their sentences was denied. The two have claimed that police procedure was broken in their case, and also that they were not preaching during their lessons.

By Brynne Lawrence

12/24/2015 China (China Aid) – Two Christians in China’s western Xinjiang were sentenced to 11 days’ detention after they conducted Bible-based, character-building lessons for children and taught them games, which authorities termed “organizing, instigating, coercing, inducing or inciting another person to engage in activities of cults … or making use of cults … to disturb social order…”

After being taken into police custody on April 11, the defendants, Lou Nannan and Zhang Hong’En, decided to file an administrative reconsideration lawsuit against the public security bureau in an attempt to overturn their sentences, but the authorities upheld the original verdict. In response, the defendants filed a second lawsuit with the local court. The court was scheduled to hear the case on Dec. 2. China Aid has yet to receive news regarding their final decision.

Lou and Zhang completed their sentences and were released on April 23, 2015.

In Xinjiang, local law forbids parents from providing any form of religious education to young children. Li Dunyong, a lawyer from Beijing, told a China Aid reporter on Nov. 26 that he believes Lou and Zhang have not broken the law: “The law enforcement has no factual bases [for detaining the defendants]. Just because they, the appellants, were telling the children Bible stories [does not mean they] were preaching. If you think [about it], children that small—ages 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9—simply can’t understand the Bible. How can you explain the Bible to children?”

Li also said that “… [the police’s] procedures violated the law.”

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