China holds secret trial for church leaders

.- After a secret trial March 16, three Chinese Christians are facing 10 years to life in prison for exposing a government crackdown against Christians to foreign organizations, reported the AFP. The three underground church leaders were tried at the Intermediate Peoples Court of Hangzhou in the eastern Zhejiang province. According to the news source, court officials did not allow defendants’ family members to attend the trial, saying that it involved state security.

The trial came just days after China passed its first constitutional amendment to protect human rights.

Originally charged with "inciting the gathering of state secrets," Liu Fenggang, Xu Yonghai and Zhang Shengqi were brought to trial on amended charges of "providing intelligence to organizations outside of China," reported the AFP.

The men had told overseas groups of the suppression of Christians in the city of Hangzhou. More than a dozen churches in houses were destroyed there and at least 300 Christians were arrested; some were physically abused.

Hangzhou court officials have refused to comment. The court has not announced a verdict yet.

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