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Prominant Beijing House Church Leader Trial Date Confirmed

Beijing house church leader Pastor Cai Zhuohua's trial date was confirmed. The trial will take place on July 7, 2005 at the People's Court of Haidian District Beijing.
( [email protected] ) Jul 06, 2005 02:10 PM EDT

Beijing house church leader Pastor Cai Zhuohua's trial date was confirmed, along with his wife, Ms. Xiao Yunfei and two other family members, according to CAA. The trial will take place on July 7, 2005 at the People's Court of Haidian District Beijing.

On a copy of the prosecution paper obtained by CAA, the four family members will be tried on the grounds of "Illegal business and management" for alleged printing of over 200,000 copies of Christian literature. Nine prominent lawyers and legal scholars have volunteered to defend Pastor Cai.

In China, only one publisher belonging to the Three Self Patriotic Movement, the state-sanctioned churches, is approved by the government to print a limited amount of Bibles and Christian literatures each year. Sales of the publication are forbidden. However, CAA reports that some Chinese house churches have found it more convenient to print through local printers who are willing to print Bibles for extra money than through overseas "smuggling" of Bibles.

A source close to Cai's church reported that the confiscated Bibles were solely for the internal use of the church and the pastor has not made profits from them, yet Cai is at risk for involvement with overseas-based Chinese language website www.aiyan.org. The website contains articles from the underground churches, yet it has brought to the attention of the Chinese authorities who routinely denounce the oversea connections of underground churches as a likely tool to overthrow the Communist government.

According to CAA, eyewitnesses say Cai, 32, was waiting at a bus stop on the morning of Sept. 11, 2004 when three plainly-clothed officers believed to be from the Department of State Security approached him and forced him into a white van. Authorities later confiscated some 200,000 copies of the Bible and other Christian literature in a storage room managed by Cai, who ministers to six house churches in Beijing.

Since Cai's family were not notified on Cai's arrest and that he was mistreated by his interrogators in prison, his family members are considering to file an administrative legal case against the government agencies involved.

The trial will be held at 9:00am Beijing time in Court Room No. 3.