Thank God that our Chinese sister Cheng Jie was released from jail on Wednesday after serving two years in jail for ‘illegal business operations’ as director of a church-run kindergarten in Guangxi (Prayer Alert, April 27).
Cheng Jie, Director of the Hualin Kindergarten, was one of three Christians arrested and sentenced to two years in prison and fined 5,000 yuan (US $800) for “illegal business operations” by the Liunun District Court of Liuzhou.
Police detained Cheng Jie and another woman, who was later released, at the school on Feb. 18, 2014. Four months
later, on June 24, 2014, authorities also arrested church elder Huang Quirui and church member Li Jiatao in their homes.
Authorities claimed the defendants, all part of the Liangren house church which founded the kindergarten,
“illegally” made a profit from the creation and publication of kindergarten curriculum.
The curriculum used by The Hualin Foreign Language Experimental Kindergarten teaches students about character.
It does not mention God or Jesus, but uses stories and games to teach children about honesty and trustworthiness.
The school charged students only the cost of printing the books.
“This is absolutely a wrongful verdict,” said lawyer Tan Yongpei, who along with two other lawyers from his firm
replaced the three Christian defendants’ original lawyers after they were “disqualified” by the court during the trial
on Feb. 9, 2015. “The act of printing is not an illegal business operation, and Cheng Jie’s act of taking care
of the books is not an illegal business operation. The act of shipping the books, which Huang Quirui did,
is not an act of an illegal business operation,” Tan said. Authorities have had a long-running campaign
against the Liangren Church and its school for promoting Christianity among young students.
Authorities accused the school of violating the “Law of Education” by forcing citizens to believe in a religion.
As a result of the arrests, the Liangren Church closed the school, refunded tuition, and reassigned teachers to other locations.
Cheng Jie’s husband, Du Hongbo, is a pastor and missionary. He told a VOM worker that they couple expected he
might go to prison for his work, but not his wife. They plan to appeal. The couple has two small children.
Her husband Du Hongbo has not been allowed to see or speak to his wife since her arrest in February 2014, something that has been incredibly difficult for him personally and for the wider family. He has been greatly encouraged to know that supporters of Release are praying for him, his wife and their two sons.
Your prayers and support make a world of difference to Cheng Jie, Du Hongbo and many others in similar circumstances.
Please write now to your sister Cheng Jie :Send a card of encouragement to Cheng Jie:
Prison address – Cell No 112, The First Detention Centre,
Namhuan Road, Liuzhou City,
Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region,
People’s Republic of China, 545001.