Church in Chains, November 23rd, 2023
On 20 November the case of ten Christians, now detained for two years and seven months, finally went to trial.
They were accused of “illegal business operation” because they bought Bibles from the officially recognised Three-Self Church and resold them to fellow Christians at a lower price. Several are elderly and some struggle with illnesses, making their suffering in detention even greater.
Wang Honglan (68) has served in the church for decades since becoming a Christian at the age of 24. Imprisoned for a total of 5 years because of her faith, she was subjected to re-education through labour for one year. Her church has held a prayer session at 6am every morning for thirty years, regardless of the weather.
The prosecution is recommending a sentence of 10 to 15 years for the main defendants.
A defence lawyer commented, “We are all beneficiaries of the Holy Bible. Perhaps many Holy Bibles were subsidised by the defendants. They have paid a price for this, and the lawyers urge everyone not to forget them.”
One of the defence lawyers, Fang Xiangui, criticised the court’s intentional scheduling of the trial to coincide with his engagements in another city. His request that the trial be rescheduled was rejected, thereby infringing upon the defence rights of the lawyer.
During the investigation, it was reported that none of the Christians on trial shouted or lost control and that all demonstrated intentional obedience – the lawyer said they were exemplary Christians.