A Chinese court rejected the appeals of Zheng Lan, Cheng Yajie, Wang Lulu, Liu Yan, and Yang Zhaocun, Christians facing 3-5 year sentences for “gathering a crowd to disturb public order,” on 27 June.
According to the verdict, more than 50 people participated in activities China termed “illegal,” including studying the Bible, at Zheng’s home on 5 March 2016. Wang and Cheng said they planned the gathering, and Zheng said she had been providing accommodation to personnel from a Christian organisation since 2011, allowing them to study, preach, and interpret religious texts in large-scale gatherings. After being held in custody for more than a year, the five were sentenced on 18 April.
The defendants’ lawyers used the appeals to request that the court acquit their clients, but they were refused.
In its verdict, the court claimed the appeals’ arguments did not match the case’s so-called facts, which falsely accused the Christians of their crime, but failed to elaborate on how the gathering had disturbed public order, making their arrests completely arbitrary. In private, the judge disclosed that Xinjiang’s politics and law committee issued a document prohibiting house churches and ordering the punishment of all those who attended them. The document has not yet been made public.
Source: China Aid
- Pray the Lord’s ministering Spirit will console these five Christians in their disappointment. Ask God to strengthen them and not allow them to despair but trust in Him.
- Ask the Lord to use this situation for good; may the witness of these Christians strengthen the faith of believers all over China and draw others to Christ.
- Thank the Lord for the courage of Christians in China who love Him and are faithful to Him even when sorely tested.