01/16/2024, 18.17
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Dalian house church pastor jailed for 14 years

Amid a crackdown against underground religious movements, Kan Xiaoyong, a former businessman who started his own Evangelical movement outside the official Three-Self Patriotic Movement, was given a harsh sentence. The Supreme People's Court openly tells lower courts to “adhere to the Party's position” and accept that “The judicial organ is first and foremost a political organ”.

Milan (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Amid the ongoing crackdown on Protestant house churches that operate outside the official Three-Self Patriotic Movement controlled by the Communist Party of China, penalties for clergymen in underground communities are being toughened.

This is the case of Rev Kan Xiaoyong who was recently sentenced to 14 years in prison by the Ganjingzi District People’s Court, Liaoning province. His wife Wang Fengying was given four years, while his co-worker Chu Xinyu got 10 years. Three other co-defendants were sentenced to three years in prison, the online magazine Bitter Winter reports.

The public prosecutor was successful in getting such heavy sentences by claiming that the defendants had used “a xie jiao (heterodox teachings) to undermine the implementation of law”.

Defence lawyers managed to get the court to drop charges of fraud, a pretext often used against house churches that collect money from their members to meet the needs of the community.

Rev Kan is a well-known figure among house church Protestants in China. Originally from Wuhan, he was a successful businessman and the scion of a family with connections to the Communist Party.

In 2018, at the age of 60, he left his business and founded the Discipleship Home Network in Dailan with his wife, who is two years younger. During her career, she had won national awards as a model schoolteacher.

On 20 October 2021, their home in Dalian was raided and both were arrested along with four associates.

At the trial, their lawyers presented evidence that the couple had suffered torture, allegedly inflicted during questioning, but their claim was dismissed.

Despite the setback, the defence team announced that it would appeal the convictions.

The outcome of this trial is further confirmation of the extent to which the courts in the People's Republic of China are there to meet the Party's demands.

In fact, this position is openly defended in an article posted on the official website of the Supreme People's Court, the People's Republic of China’s highest court.

In it, courts are told to “adhere to the Party’s absolute leadership and pay attention to politics and take the overall situation into account” when ruling.

“The leadership of the party is the most fundamental guarantee for the socialist rule of law and the biggest difference between us and the rule of law in Western capitalist countries.”

Above all, “The judicial organ is first and foremost a political organ, and being political is the first requirement.”

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See also
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Campaign against underground Protestant churches intensifies
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Police arrests Shouwang Church members, talks theology with them
The World Council of Churches visits Protestants in China (but only official ones)
05/01/2018 13:47
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