South China Church Pastor Gong Shengliang to be executed within days if his appeal is denied
The Voice of the Martyrs is making an urgent appeal to Christians around the world to pray for Pastor Gong Shengliang. Pastor Gong was reportedly sentenced to death last month after a court in Hubei Province declared him guilty of using an "evil cult" to "undermine the enforcement of the law" and of "complicity of rape."
"This man of God will most likely be martyred by the Chinese government if Christians and western government leaders do nothing," said Voice of the Martyrs spokesman Gary Lane.
VOM asks that Christians around the world get on their knees and pray for divine intervention for Pastor Gong and 15 other members of the South China Church who are now facing sentences ranging from two years to life.
"We are also asking that Christians contact the Chinese government to express their feelings about these arrests and possible execution of Pastor Gong," said Lane. " We need to be a voice for these Christians whose voices have been silenced by the government in Beijing."
Founded in 1990, the South China Church reportedly claims at least 50,000 members throughout China. While the Chinese government has labeled the church an "evil cult," VOM sources claim the church is evangelical. The sources say charges of rape against Pastor Gong came as no surprise because Chinese government authorities often use false charges of rape to discredit pastors and legitimize their arrests. Rape accusations were reportedly made against two cult leaders executed in the 1990's.
The Supreme Court in Hubei Province may make a decision about Pastor Gong's appeal this coming weekend. If the court rejects his appeal, Pastor Gong's execution would possibly be carried out before the end of the month.
VOM has obtained a copy of a top secret Chinese government document that proves the South China Church was under heavy surveillance by the Public Security Bureau (PSB). The document is critical of Pastor Gong's vision for the church. He is quoted as advocating to, " Bring the gospel to the whole nation, cultivate a Christ-like culture, and create a nation-wide church." He is also quoted as urging church members to, "Put on the whole armor given by the Lord, fight a bloody battle with the devil till the end, so that Satan's authority will be destroyed and the kingdom of the ever-lasting God will be established." The PSB believes that Pastor Gong's remarks about the devil and Satan actually are a reference to the government and the Communist Party.
"If Pastor Gong's remarks prove some kind of "evil cult" plot against the Chinese government, then Billy Graham, D. James Kennedy, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson would also be guilty," said Lane. "These statements and beliefs are preached by most evangelical pastors in America."
"Perhaps President Bush was a bit premature when he recently granted Beijing permanent normal trade relations," said Lane. "The arrest of these Christians and the death sentence against pastor Gong is unacceptable behavior for China and any member of the WTO."
Ambassador Yang Jiechi
Embassy of the People's Republic of China
2300 Connecticut Ave., NW, Washington, D.C. 20008
Tel: (202) 328-2500 Fax: (202) 588-0032
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