Eight Christians from the mega house church destruction incident in China earlier this year will begin trial Friday.
More than four months after the destruction of the Dangshan church building in Xiaoshan district, Zhejiang Province in eastern China, eight Christians will stand trial on charges of inciting a crowd to resist law enforcement, reported China Aid Association.
According to eyewitness reports to the Christian religious freedom organization, thousands of anti-riot police, government workers and 300 military vehicles surrounded the church building on July 29 while 10,000 house church Christians were praying inside the building. Hundreds of people were wounded and arrested as police used electric shock batons and anti-riot shield to disperse the Christians.
The government had accused the house church of being illegal because it was built without government permission and ordered the Christians to destroy the church. However, according to CAA sources, the local government had repeatedly denied the Christians request to build the church.
The Chinese House Church Alliance said that the Christian churches in Xiaoshan district, including the destroyed church, resulted from the missionary work of China Inland Missionary, an evangelical organization founded by the famous Britain missionary, Hudson Taylor, who preached the Gospel in Xioashan in 1867.
Over 300 house churches have been destroyed in Zhejiang province since 2003, according to CAA.
Four prominent Christian attorneys and human rights activists had agreed to represent the house church members in court. However, according to Bob Fu, president of China Aid Association, attorneys Dr. Fan Yafeng, Dr. Li Baiguang and Zhang Xingshui have been prevented by the Chinese authorities from appearing at the trial. Beijing authorities threatened the attorneys with arrest if they were to enter the trial district.
Li was among the three Chinese Christian activists that met with President Bush in May to discuss religious freedom in China, in particular, oppression of Chinese house churches.