Innocent Until Proven Guilty

By Chenyuan Snider Published on April 14, 2023

I’m appalled by former Speaker Pelosi’s breathtaking audacity exemplified in her tweet where she says of Donald Trump’s indictment, “The Grand Jury has acted upon the facts and the law. No one is above the law, and everyone has the right to a trial to prove innocence.”

An Exceptional Legal Feature

As an immigrant, I know the legal feature that separates America from many other places. It is the belief that a person is innocent until proven guilty. It puts the burden on the government to establish evidence prior to a criminal conviction. I also know that all totalitarian regimes practice exactly the opposite, guilty until proven innocent. In those societies, the government can, at whim, declare you guilty and use a mere accusation as “proof,” leaving you incapable of proving yourself innocent. Ironically, our former Speaker behaves more like a tyrant than an official in a free country that follows the rule of law.

All Marxists who hold the reins of power are tyrants. Growing up an atheist in communist China, I know them well. Lusting after power and the indifference to human life are the two prominent features they all share. This terrible combination explains why Marxists are so ruthless in crushing opposition, and why they never hesitate to kill in order to maintain power. Guilty until proven innocent is the tool of choice they use to punish the opposition and innocent people through legal procedures, a soft kill.

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Wretched as it was, I had never thought about why this practice was wrong, for I didn’t know it could be otherwise. Nor had I ever hoped for a place like America. One can only hope for something that can be conceived in one’s imagination. In my mind, I couldn’t fathom what life was like on the other side of the Pacific. My atheist and Marxist upbringing had never afforded me the slightest possibility to visualize a place like America where a person is considered innocent until proven guilty.

It’s not hard to imagine how dumbfounded I was when first learning about innocent until proven guilty after immigrating to the U.S. For me, it sounded totally otherworldly, standing diametrically against the value system in which I was raised. It took me a while to digest its exceptional significance.

Under the legal principle of innocent until proven guilty, an official is not allowed to use his power to declare a person guilty, which by and large has prevented the abuse that is so common in many other places and has ensured a fair trial for the accused. When I first understood this, it gave me an overwhelming sense of security that I had never experienced when living in China.

The Significance of Innocent Until Proven Guilty

Why was innocent until proven guilty able to take root in America, but not in most other places? In my opinion, for this belief to be feasible, there must be two prerequisites: respect for human life and a system that restrains power. Without a high view of human life, we are no different from animals, merit no value nor rights, and mistreatment of others becomes totally acceptable. Further, power corrupts. Without restraint, government officials will inevitably misuse power to their advantage. It’s the nature of any earthly power.

America’s Judeo-Christian tradition holds an elevated view of humans who are created by the Creator, bear His image, have innate worth, and deserve rights and protection. Moreover, the same tradition also recognizes the sin nature and, with it, the certainty of abuse of power when opportunity presents itself.

Consequently, innocent until proven guilty is one of the corollaries of America’s Judeo-Christian belief. It restrains the powerful, and gives a person — no matter how lowly he is or how likely he is to commit a crime — a chance to fight fairly and justly in court.

In my opinion, it is the lynchpin of our legal system. Unless we uphold this practice, we will soon lose our rights one by one and forfeit our freedom, for often court is the ultimate battle ground, and sometimes, the only battleground in today’s struggle. To some extent, this practice has become a litmus test of how likely we can recover when our rights and liberties are violated. One might even say that it’s the guardian of our legal system and, by extension, our freedom.

The Final Stage of the Last Battle

That’s why the former Speaker’s tweet is so disturbing. But more disturbing is the fact that it is not a Freudian slip, but rather a calculated move. I recognized this because I know Marxists well.

After the CCP took over China in 1949, they could not establish total control immediately. At that time, the party intentionally presented themselves as friendly and tolerant to different social groups, disguising their malicious totalitarian face. They even initiated a movement in 1956, promoting unrestricted development of different forms and styles in the arts, and free debate on different schools of thought, claiming “let a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend.” However, after gaining enough control, the party no longer needed a mask to hide their true face. Then an atrocious political purge began.

Sadly, former Speaker Pelosi’s tweet has revealed a stark truth. Finally, after decades of encroachment, the left knows that they have accumulated enough ground so they no longer need to hide their intentions. Her tweet is calculated, defiant, and provocative.

The left like Pelosi brings to mind the quintessential caricature of a communist bureaucrat who sits in an office with a tea cup and a cigarette in one hand and a state-run newspaper in another, looking at you with such contempt and disgust. You feel so small and insignificant like a bug before that disdainful face. He smiles at you only when he realizes you are useful to him or just before he intends to harm you. I had seen so many of them before coming to the U.S.

Those who rejoice in Trump’s indictment are pathetically shortsighted. Don’t you know when the burden to prove innocence is on us, we are no longer free and the powerful can do whatever they want to us? Today it is Donald Trump. But sooner or later it will be you.

For those like me who love this country, know that we are at the final stage of the last battle to preserve our freedom and rights. I have no doubt, knowing Marxists well, that if we lose the battle, they will not allow us to survive and we will be eventually be purged. Realistically, right now, there are only three scenarios. We fight, we win, and we survive; we fight, we lose, and we die; we do nothing and we surely die. The only chance to survive is to fight. Anything less than giving it our all is signing our own death warrant.


Chenyuan Snider was raised in Communist China and majored in Chinese language and literature in college. After immigrating to the U.S. and having studied at Assemblies of God Theological Seminary and Duke Divinity School, she became a professor and taught at Christian colleges and seminary. She sensed God was leading her to use her unique voice to provide a warning about various kinds of Marxist influences in our society. She lives in northern California with her husband and has two grown children.

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