China Aid has reported that on April 24, the Dali Intermediate Court in Dali, Yunnan, ruled that Christians Tu Yan and Su Min had participated in the Three Grades of Servants, a religious institution listed as a xie jiao by the Chinese government. Tu received a two-year sentence, while Su was sentenced to a year-and-a-half under the provisions of the Chinese Criminal Code, which make being active in a xie jiao a crime. More than 100 Christians have been arrested in Yunnan in 2018 with the accusation of being members of the Three Grades of Servants, with several of them already sentenced under Article 300 to jail terms up to 13 years.
The Three Grades of Servants are a new religious movement founded in the late 1980s in Henan by Xu Wenku (1946–2006). Xu was arrested in 2005 and confessed having ordered several homicides. At trial, he claimed that his confession was obtained through the use of torture, but was sentenced to death and executed in 2006. Scholars believe that the movement either disappeared or was reduced to a handful of followers in the following years.
This makes the claims by those arrested in Henan, that they have never even heard of the Three Grades of Servants, and are just members of ordinary House Churches, believable. China Aid also agrees with this version of the incidents.