Imprisoned Church Leader Faces Trial Today in China
Early Rain Covenant Church Pastor Wang Yi Still Awaits Trial
11/25/2019 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Qin Derfu, an elder from Sichuan’s Early Rain Covenant Church (ERCC) who has been detained since last December, faced his trial today at the Qingyang People’s Court.
The court only allowed two family members to sit in, so no one from ERCC was able to witness the trial. Outside of the court, there were many plainclothes officials to intimidate those supporting Qin.
According to Qin’s wife, Xiao Hongliu, the assigned lawyer, Li Gueisheng, was unable to attend the trial, and they knew little about who the government forcibly assigned to Qin as a replacement.
Xiao posted a message on social media today, saying, “Dad and I returned home accompanied by the police. The prosecutor accused Qin Derfu of running an illegal business, and the lawyer defended for his innocence. Qin Derfu also testified [for himself] that it is not a crime to have [Christian] faith. We pray and look up to God for the result— justice is in His hand.”
No conviction was made today, and it is still unknown to the public when the next trial will take place.
Together with Pastor Wang Yi and elder Li Yingqiang, Qin was arrested and accused of “running an illegal business” during the 1209 government crackdown against the house church last year. While elder Li was released last August on bail, Pastor Wang Yi and elder Qin are still being held by the government.
Pastor Wang Yi also faces similar treatment, where his assigned lawyer was forced to resign by the authorities and replaced with two “officially approved” lawyers. He also has not seen his family, who have been closely watched and cut off from communication with the outside world for months.
Gina Goh, ICC’s Regional Manager for Southeast Asia, said, “While elder Qin having his trial today is good news in that his family finally got to see him after almost a year, we should not forget that he was detained under trumped up charges, solely for being a leader at the well-known house church. The government has also deprived him of his legal rights and banned his family from visiting. As the 1209 crackdown is approaching its one-year anniversary, we continue to call on Beijing to respect religious freedom and unconditionally release elder Qin Derfu and Pastor Wang Yi.”