China: Christian sect members sentenced to death

Underground Christian group leader claims police tortured them to extract confessions.

By
July 7, 2006 11:54
1 minute read.
China: Christian sect members sentenced to death

chinese christians. (photo credit: AP [file])

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

A Chinese court has sentenced to death the leader and two members of an underground Christian sect for murdering 20 members of a rival group, while 13 associates got prison terms, a lawyer for the sect said Friday. Xu Wenku, the head of the Three Grades of Servants group, is being held responsible for acts committed by followers of his sect, said his lawyer, Li Heping. He argued at the trial that prosecutors had failed to directly link Xu to the deaths. "The Communist Party has 70 million members. If a local party secretary is bad and commits a murder, you don't sentence (President) Hu Jintao to death," said Li. The case against Xu and other members of the Three Grades of Servants sect has delved into problems underground evangelical groups experience as they attract swarms of new adherents while facing repression from China's communist government. Three Grades of Servants had been competing with the other sect, Eastern Lightning, for converts. At the trial, Xu and co-defendant Li Maoxing claimed that police tortured them to extract confessions that they said were false. For one weeklong period, police deprived Xu of sleep and at one point suspended him from the ceiling for five hours, Li had said in his closing arguments at trial. Xu was a seminal figure in the underground Christian movement and his case was carefully watched by overseas Christian groups. Xu began preaching in the early 1970s in central Henan province, one of a coterie of barely educated, rural preachers who helped revive Christianity from a Maoist era ban on all religion. The Intermediate People's Court in the northeastern city of Shuangyashan, which convicted Xu and the others in March, issued the death sentences on Wednesday, a lengthy delay even by Chinese standards. In addition to Xu and two others sentenced to death, three others received suspended death sentences, a punishment usually commuted to life in prison, while 10 others were given prison terms from three to 15 years, Li said. Li said he and lawyers representing the other two defendants who received death sentences planned to file appeals this week.

Related Content

Trump Putin
August 17, 2018
Russian oil industry would weather U.S. 'bill from hell'

By REUTERS