Lawyers predict trial for prominent house church pastor within the month

China Aid
Reported in Chinese by Qiao Nong. Edited in English by Ava Collins.

(Guiyang, Guizhou—Aug. 12, 2016) According to his lawyers, Yang Hua, a house church pastor charged with divulging state secrets, could stand trial as soon as this month. Yang has been detained in China’s Guizhou Province for more than eight months.

Yang Hua preaching in an undated 
picture. (Photo: China Aid)

Yang Hua, the commonly used pseudonym of Li Guozhi, served as a pastor for the frequently persecuted Huoshi Church until he was detained by authorities on Dec. 9, 2015. What was originally slated as two consecutive five-day detentions was extended on Dec. 20, when he was accused of “illegally possessing state secrets.” The charge was intensified to “divulging state secrets” on Jan. 22, when Yang was formally arrested.

One of Yang’s attorneys, Zhao Yonglin, was allowed to meet with him on Aug. 5 and discovered that the Nanming District Procuratorate had submitted a videotape to the court as evidence in the case.

“Attorney Zhao visited Yang Hua yesterday,” Wang Hongwu, Yang’s wife, told the reporter. “He said he had reviewed all of the case files and the case is likely to be tried in August. He said that Yang Hua was doing well and told us not to worry about him. [Yang] is concerned that we get too worried about his wellbeing. He would feel more at peace if we’re not too worried for him.”

Though no official date for the trial has been announced, Yang’s lawyers believe it will be soon.

Throughout his detention, authorities have refused to let Yang see his family or legal representation and have reportedly used threats and various methods of torture in attempts to extract a confession from him.

China Aid supports cases similar to Yang Hua’s through the legal defense fund and provides aid for the families of prisoners. Those wishing to get involved with the Free Yang Hua campaign can sign a petition for his release, make a donation, or spread awareness on social media with the hashtag #FreeYangHua.

China Aid Media Team
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
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