Sunday, 5 November 2017

Imprisoned pastor sues Chinese government

Chinese Government Sue By Imprisoned Pastor 
Pastors Su Tianfu (left) and Yang Hua

Guiyang, Guizhou, China- An imprisoned house church pastor filed a lawsuit against local government departments in China’s southern Guizhou province on Oct. 10, claiming his religious freedom had been violated and that a fine was wrongly imposed on him, ChinaAid learned recently.

Li Guozhi, who is known by his alias, Yang Hua, pastored Huoshi Church, the largest house church in Guiyang, Guizhou, until he was taken into police custody for defending a church hard drive and sentenced to two-and-a-half years for “divulging state secrets.” Additionally, the government fined him and another of the church’s pastors, Su Tianfu, 7 million yuan ($1,020,200 USD), an amount the officials claimed the church had received as “illegal income.” However, Su and Yang claim that church members donated their money voluntarily to the church and argued that it was the church’s income, not their own, so there is no grounds for administrative action.

The pastors applied for a court hearing to contest the case, but their request was denied.

On Oct. 10, Yang sued the Nanming District Religious Affairs Bureau and the Guiyang Municipal Ethnic and Religious Committee for their abuse of religious freedom in this case. Quoting the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, he argued that neither he, Su, nor Huoshi Church had violated any laws concerning religious freedom.

Meanwhile, Su had submitted his own lawsuit against t the Nanming District Ethnic and Religious Affairs Bureau and the Guiyang Municipal Religious Affairs Bureau. According to him, " ... my lawyers received a number of calls from the judge of the Baiyun District Court saying that our complaint had problems and must be modified," Su said. "Otherwise, it couldn't be put on file. So yesterday [Oct. 23], Lawyer Yan Xin and I went to the Baiyun District Court."

After they amended the content, the judge agreed to file the case. Su said, "In our indictment, there is an article that talks about faith. [The judge] said that the court could not engage the issue of faith. A filed case must not have any commentary, and he requested that we alter it."

For more of the new and translation of Yang's lawsuit...

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