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Controversial Religious Leaders to Receive Final Sentence in December; Execution Could Be Immanent

Contact: Bob Fu, China Aid Association, 267-205-5210, info@ChinaAid.org; www.ChinaAid.org, www.monitorChina.org

MIDLAND, Texas, Nov.14 /Christian Newswire/ -- CAA learned that November 17-19, 2006, the Heilongjiang Higher People’s Court re-tried the case of the “Three Grades Servants.” In December it is very possible that the death sentence issued by the Shuang Yashan Intermediate People’s Court in the first trial will be upheld for Xu Shengguang and 2 other church leaders.

The second trial was held in the Shuang Yashan Intermediate People’s Court room by judges from the Provincial Higher Court. Officers from National Jurisdiction Organs and the National Religious Affairs Bureau were also present. Only 15 of the 16 defendants appealed for a second trial.

The court allowed one relative of each suspected criminal to be present at the trial, although some 100 people were present in the audience. According to the eyewitnesses, Xu seemed physically and mentally well during the trial.

The Defense argued that there is no evidence to prove Xu and the other two church leaders were directly involved or took part in organizing and abetting the murder of the members of the Eastern Lightening religious group.

According to an amendment passed by the 24th Conference of the Chinese Standing Committee of the People’s National Congress, beginning January 2007, the Chinese Supreme Court can reverse a Provincial Court’s death sentence. Unfortunately the mid-December verdict date for Xu falls two or three weeks prior to the effective date of the new procedure. So if the death sentences are upheld in the second trial, Xu and the others will face execution.

According to information received by CAA, the “Three Grades Servant” sect, even though they claim to be Christians and adhere to the Bible, is considered a heresy by mainstream house churches in China, because of their extreme doctrine. The Eastern Lightening group founded by a woman named Zheng, who claims to be China’s female reincarnation of Jesus Christ, is widely acknowledged by house churches to be a cult and a criminal religious group.

“We are closely monitoring the progress of this case,” said Rev. Bob Fu, the president of CAA, “We appeal to the Heilongjiang Higher People’s Court to try this case in a just and fair manor according to the Chinese Constitution.”

Defense Lawyer Mr. Wei Rujiu’s contact phone number: +86-13901098010

Ms. Wu Aiying, minister of Ministry of Justice of PRC
Address: No. 10, Nan Da Jie, Chaoyangmen, Beijing City (Zip Code: 100020)

Issued by CAA on November 14, 2006