Chinese Christians to appear in court

Monday, March 15, 2004

March 15, 2004 (VOM) -- Three Christians will appear in a Chinese court on Monday, facing charges of “providing intelligence to overseas organizations.”

The charges were brought against Liu Fenngang, Xu Yonghai and Zhang Shengqi in the Zhejiang provincial capital of Hangzhou. Police detained Liu, who was based in Beijing, in October while he was researching a crackdown on Christian groups in Hangzhou’s Xiaoshan district. Xu and Zhang were active members of Liu’s house church. Authorities detained Xu, a psychiatrist, in Beijing last November. Zhang, an internet writer, was arrested in Jilin province the same month.

A court in Hangzhou will hold a hearing Monday for the three men, who only recently received official notification of the charges against them and hired attorneys. VOM sources said a verdict is not likely to be announced immediately after the hearing, but days or weeks later.

“The world is watching,” said Todd Nettleton, VOM’s Director of News Services. “Will these Christian men be given a fair and open trial? Is there any justice in China for those who refuse to register their religious activities with the government? These men revealed no state secrets. Their only crime is telling the world how China’s Communist government treats Christians.”

The Voice of the Martyrs urges Christians around the world to pray for justice for these Chinese believers.

A polite letter of protest can also be sent to the Chinese embassy in Washington DC:

Ambassador Yang Jiechi
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China
2300 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington DC 20008
Tel:(202) 328-2500 Fax:(202) 588-0032
Director of Religious Affairs: (202) 328-2512