Two church leaders in China have a day in court

Church leaders’ wives sentenced to 15 days in administrative detention

08/08/2022 Washington, DC (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that the preacher and a colleague from the Reformed Church of Xuncheng in Taiyuan, Shanxi province in China, arrested in November 2021 for “illegal border crossing”, finally had their day ahead court on Friday, August 5.

But they will have to wait longer for any resolution of their case.

Minister An Yankui and Zhang Chenghao were arrested and detained last November for attending a 2020 Christian conference in Malaysia hosted by prominent Chinese Indonesian pastor Stephen Tong. Five other Christians were arrested and jailed on the same charge but released earlier this year. An and Zhang have been in prison for nine months.

At Friday’s hearing, attorneys for An and Zhang filed an objection to the court’s jurisdiction over the case and requested a withdrawal. They argued that the Fenyang City Court had no authority. The judge asked for a stay to consider the claims and will announce a new trial later. The same judge presided over the other five Christians and showed bias against An and Zhang.

Moreover, the wives of the two church leaders were recently imprisoned for 15 days.

Minister An’s wife, Yao Congya, was taken to Yingze Police Station in Taiyuan for interrogation last Thursday. A few hours later, she informed her family that she had been placed in administrative detention for 15 days for “illegal assembly (worship in a hotel on April 3)”. Authorities said his sentence was delayed due to the pandemic.

Zhang’s wife, Guo Juan, was also placed in administrative detention for 15 days at the end of Friday’s trial. Police said they were eventually able to locate her and take her into custody.

The heavily persecuted house church has sent prayer requests amid fears that its remaining preacher, Wang Yingjie, may be taken into administrative detention:

“Please pray for us. May God guide the future path of Xuncheng Church and support every person who is weak.

“China’s abuse of its legal system continues to criminalize Christians who refuse to submit to communist government control,” said Gina Goh, ICC Regional Director for Southeast Asia. “From the intentional arrests of Minister An’s wives and his brother Zhang, to the false accusations against them, the sinister regime views Christians as enemies of the state simply because they practice their faith. The US government and the global community should continue to follow these cases of religious persecution and pin Beijing on human rights abuses whenever possible.

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