Updated: Guizhou officials formally arrest house church pastor

China Aid
Translated by Carolyn Song. Written in English by Brynne Lawrence.

Updated at 11:45 a.m. CDT on Jan. 26, 2016

(Guiyang, Guizhou—Jan. 22, 2016) After serving two administrative detention and one criminal detention sentences, the pastor of a house church in China’s southern Guizhou province was arrested on suspicion of “divulging state secrets” today, shortly after officials rejected his colleague’s administrative reconsideration application on Jan. 11.

Li Guozhi, also known by his alias, Yang Hua, was last seen donning a black hood as officials herded him into an unidentified vehicle. As a pastor of Huoshi Church, which the government has been serially targeting, he was detained twice consecutively for a total of 10 days.

According to previous notices delivered to family members, Li originally served time in administrative detention for “the crime of obstructing justice” and “gathering a crowd to disturb social order.” On the day he was scheduled to be released from his second administrative detention in late December, authorities added the charge of “illegally holding state secrets” and transferred him to criminal detention.

Following another accusation that Huoshi Church had been using its venue to hold religious activities while it was not authorized to do so, officials imposed a fine that began on Nov. 22, even though the church consistently reported all religious events to the government. The original notice, delivered on Nov. 18, informed the church that they had three days to comply with legal stipulations, otherwise, a fine of 10 Yuan [U.S. $2.00] per day for every square meter of church property would be imposed.

After the church refused, the Guiyang Municipal Urban Management Administrative Law Enforcement issued an administrative penalty notice to church members Su Tianfu, Zhang Xiuhong, and Liang Xuewu, under whose names the venue is officially registered, stating that the church had 15 days to pay the fine. If they failed to do this, an additional 3 percent per day charge would be added to the overall expense, totaling 110,296 Yuan (U.S. $16,768.00).

Su, who is a pastor at Huoshi Church, informed a China Aid reporter that he had applied for an administrative reconsideration: “… otherwise, we don’t have the money to pay the fine.”

On Jan. 11, the Guiyang Municipal People’s Government rejected his application.

Li Guozhi’s arrest notice, Su Tianfu’s administrative reconsideration rejection notice and the administrative penalty verdict from the Guiyang Municipal Management Administrative Law Enforcement can be read in full below.

A translation of Li’s administrative reconsideration application is forthcoming.

China Aid exposes religious freedom abuses, such as those experienced by Huoshi Church, in order to promote religious freedom and rule of law in China.

Nanming Sub-bureau of the Guiyang Municipal Public Security Bureau
Arrest Notice
Nanming District, Guiyang (Criminal) Arrest (2016) No. 043
Wang Hongwu:
After receiving approval from the Nanming People’s Procuratorate, our bureau arrested Li Guozhi at 3:00 p.m. on Jan. 22 on suspicion of “divulging state secrets.” He is currently detained at Nanming Detention Center.
Nanming Sub-bureau of the Guiyang Municipal Public Security Bureau

Note: the address of the detention center is Wangcheng town, Nanming District

Guiyang Municipal People’s Government
Rejection of Administrative Reconsideration Notice

Guiyang Municipal People’s Government Administrative Reconsideration Rejection [2016] No. 01

The applicant:
Name: Su Tianfu, Male, Han Nationality
ID No. 5225021975073031111
Address: Apartment 1, Entrance 5, 14 Huinong Lane, Nanming District, Guizhou

The respondent:
Name: Guiyang Municipal Civil Affairs Bureau
Legal representative: Mei Jun
Position: Director

We have received an administrative reconsideration application, which was in regards to the Ban Notice issued by the Guiyang Municipal Civil Affairs Bureau, [titled], “Guiyang Municipal Civil Affairs Bureau Ban Notice [2015] No. 2,” on Jan. 6, 2016 from applicant Su Tianfu.

After investigation, our department thinks that: Administrative reconsideration applicants must be citizens, legal persons or other organizations, whose legitimate rights and interests have been infringed on by specific administrative acts; that is, only citizens, legal persons or other organizations whose legitimate rights and interests have been violated are qualified for administrative reconsideration. “Huoshi Church in Guiyang” is not a legal organization because it has not been registered. Therefore, it is not a violation of the applicant’s lawful rights and interests for the respondent to issue a Ban Notice, [Guiyang Municipal Civil Affairs Bureau Ban 2015, No. 2]. The applicant is not eligible for administrative reconsideration. The applicant submitted an application for reconsideration that does not match the provisions of Article 2 and Article 10, paragraph 1 of the Administrative Reconsideration Law of the People’s Republic of China.

According to the provisions of Article 17 of the Administrative Reconsideration Law of the People’s Republic of China, we decided: the applicant’s application for administrative reconsideration is inadmissible.

If the applicant does not accept this decision, he can bring an administrative lawsuit to the People’s Court within 15 days of receiving this written decision.

Guiyang Municipal People’s Government
01/11/2015 [Editor’s note: This should read “01/11/2016”]

Guiyang Municipal Urban Administrative and Law Enforcement Bureau
Administrative Penalty Verdict

Guiyang Municipal Comprehensive Law Enforcement Penalty Verdict [2016] No. 0000903

Su Tianfu, Zhang Xiuhong, Liang Xuewu:
According to the Law on Urban and Rural Planning for Guiyang Municipality, we have investigated your case of changing the regulated usage of rooms without permission. The investigation is already completed.

Because you changed the usage of your rooms without permission for the residence at Rooms 8, 9, and 10, Floor 24, Entrance 2, Building 9, Construction District C, Huaguoyuan, you violated the stipulations of Article 41 of the Guizhou Urban and Rural Planning Ordinance. On Nov. 18, 2015, in accordance with Article 53 of the Guizhou Urban and Rural Planning Ordinance, we ordered you to change [the usage of the rooms] within three days, but you failed to do so. Now, in accordance with Article 53 of the Guizhou Urban and Rural Planning Ordinance, the following penalty verdict is being imposed:

On the basis of a fine being overdue, an (additional) fine of 10 Yuan per square meter per day, for a total of 17 days [Editor’s Note: the church initially refused to pay the fine for 17 days, from Nov. 22-Dec. 8] will be imposed. This is a total of 110,296 Yuan.

You must pay the fine at Guiyang Bank within 15 days of receiving this verdict. If you refuse to pay the fine within the prescribed time limit, an extra 3 percent of the fine will be imposed each day.

If you are not satisfied with the decision, you can apply to the Guiyang Municipal People’s Government for an administrative reconsideration within 60 days of receiving this verdict or file an administrative lawsuit at the People’s Court.

Guiyang Municipal Urban Administrative and Law Enforcement Bureau [seal]

China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
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