01/11/2022 China (International Christian Concern) – On January 7, Taizhou City Intermediate People’s Court in Zhejiang province rejected the appeal of imprisoned Christian bookstore owner Chen Yu, who was arrested and charged with “illegal business operations” in 2020.
The verdict was however first released on the WeChat public account of “Combating Pornography and Illegal Publications in Zhejiang,” instead of through Chen’s lawyer.
The message, according to China Aid, reads “The case of Mr. Chen participating in illegal publication business will sustain the original judgment: Defendant Mr. Chen is charged with illegal business operations and sentenced to seven years and fined CNY 200,000. After verification, [it is true that] the defendant registered ‘Wheat Bookstore’ at an online business platform […] on April 12, 2016 and sold illegal publications of more than 12,000 books without obtaining legal CIP data and permit for import. The profit gained illegally was more than CNY 200,000.”
Chen Yu’s mother, Zheng Jinmei contacted Chen’s lawyers after reading the post, only to learn that the lawyers did not receive the verdict. She was shocked that the court did not notify the lawyers about the verdict of the appeal court. The lawyers responded that they would continue to appeal and asked Zheng not to worry about the lawyer fee.
Chen’s parents were very frustrated and infuriated by the verdict. But Zheng continued to lead prayer meeting the next day in a prayer group. She said, “Dear God, my tears shed for You, we offer our knees for these brothers and sisters in Christ who are imprisoned. We know that the souls behind bars also need your gospel and grace. Oh Lord, through these pastors, elders, your sons and daughters, including Chen Yu, they will be a lamp for you in these prisons and bring light to the places filled with darkness.”
Chen was detained for selling unapproved religious publications imported from Taiwan, the US, and other countries through his online Wheat Bookstore on September 1, 2019.
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