ICC Note: As the attorney for one of the convicted Christians points out, these cases contain many distortions of the truth. The fact that these believers were given such harsh sentences is yet more evidence that authorities are intent on continuing their persecution of the church in China through tactics of intimidation.
By Qiao Nong
06/15/2015 China(China Aid)
Nearly a year after police raided a music class and detained nearly two dozen choir members, two house church Christians from coastal Shandong province were found guilty of “using a cult to undermine law enforcement” and sentenced to three and four years, respectively.
Nearly 200 Christians showed up outside the court house in Cao County, Shandong, when the high-profile case went to trial on May 27, accordingto Qiao Nong, China Aid’s special correspondent inHong Kong.The court ruled that Zhao Weiliang was an organizer in the Total Scope Church and sentenced him to four years’ imprisonment, while Cheng Hongpeng was given a three-year sentence as an active participant. The judge asked both defendants if they wanted to appeal, and both said yes.…
The 22 Christians were rounded up by 30 Heze municipal police for practicing hymns and playing musical instruments in a factory owned by a church member. Four children, their parents and a pregnant woman were immediately released but the others were placed under administrative or criminal detention.
OnJuly 23, 10 were released on bail. A week later, the Cao County procuratorate approved the arrest of Zhao and Cheng.…Zhao’s lawyer, Chen Jiangang, said the conviction was unjust.
“First, the Cao County Court completely distorted the facts and ignored the facts, because the facts [of this case] were very clear.
Second, from a legal standpoint, this decision was a perversion of the law,” Chen said, adding that “politically, this is [a case] of religious persecution and an attack on religious belief.”Chen predicted a worsening of the political climate. “In China, this kind of situation is likely to become tighter and tighter in the future. This kind of anti-civilization, anti-progress trend is going to become worse and worse.…
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