Pastor’s charge changed, church experiences persecution

Su Tianfu (left) with Yang Hua (right).
(Photo: China Aid)

China Aid
Reported in Chinese by Qiao Nong. Translated by Carolyn Song. Written in English by Brynne Lawrence.

(Guiyang, Guizhou—Jan. 27, 2016) The lawyer defending a pastor accused of “divulging state secrets” told China Aid that authorities in China’s southern Guizhou province denied his request to meet with his client on Jan. 21, among other instances of interference.

“[The officials] denied me a meeting [with Yang Hua], under the excuse that I did not have permission from the police,” said Chen Jiangang, the attorney hired on behalf of Yang Hua, a pastor from Huoshi Church. “I contacted the police, but there has been no response yet … Half a month ago, … I submitted a written request by mail, and they have already signed [for the request, demonstrating that they officially received it].”

Like Chen, Yang’s wife, Wang Hongwu, described disrupted attempts to reach her husband. On Jan. 21, she said that officials were withholding information regarding Yang from her. She attempted to send him money for daily necessities, but none of her efforts reached him.

When Wang went to the Nanming Branch of the Guiyang Municipal Public Security Bureau to sign the arrest form, the official who received her refused to answer her questions.

Wang also told China Aid that Yang’s charge changed from “illegally holding state secrets,” for which he served time in criminal detention, to “divulging state secrets” once the Procuratorate approved his arrest.

“This is not a legal charge and is never mentioned in the Criminal Law [of the People’s Republic of China],” Chen added. “Now, this kind of criminal case can be in the hands of the police, [which is] arbitrary. It can even exceed the law. Basically, there are no restrictions….”

Despite these incidents, Wang says her most significant concern is for the members of Huoshi Church, who the police have serially harassed. On Nov. 29, 2015, approximately 30 officials interrupted a church service and detained several Christians. Wang said that officials still interview many of the church members on a regular basis, which has impacted the church’s ability to continue its normal activities.

“For many years, the police have been eyeing Yang Hua and Huoshi Church with hostility,” Chen said. “[They] deliberately fabricated charges against Yang Hua in order to imprison him. Now, all the houses purchased by [Huoshi Church] have been confiscated by the authorities. Currently, the circumstances [in which legal stipulations are carried out] eradicate … all the churches that are not controlled by the government. Regarding these kinds of cases, the police’s [actions] are largely arbitrary.”

“We still can’t hold [church] services,” Su Tianfu, another Huoshi Church pastor, said. “There are some people who meet in their homes, and others go to other churches. Most of the time. I am [monitored] by someone [from the government].”

Su also reported that the case of Zhang Xiuhong, an incarcerated accountant and the chairwoman of Huoshi Church’s Board of Deacons who authorities accused of “illegal business operations,” has been transferred to the Procuratorate for prosecution.

Additionally, authorities imposed a fine that accrued to 110,296 Yuan (U.S. $16,700.00) between Nov. 22 and Dec. 8. They alleged that the church’s members deviated from the approved use of their building, even though the Christians consistently reported all activities.

In response, Su filed an administrative reconsideration, but his application was rejected on Jan. 11.

“ … [the next step is to] sue,” he said.

“The case itself is a case of religious persecution,” Chen said. “[Authorities] arrested and detained a pastor in order to pressure a church. Therefore, [Yang Hua] simply cannot be involved in a crime. At this point, China is basically comparable to the Cultural Revolution or North Korea. An individual has no guarantee of obtaining basic human rights.”

A translation of the hiring authorization document, in which Su Tianfu commissioned lawyers to represent Huoshi Church, can be read in full below.

To learn more about Huoshi Church, please watch the video below.

China Aid reports on cases of abuses, such as those experienced by Huoshi Church, its pastors and members, and Yang Hua’s lawyer, in order to promote religious freedom and rule of law in China.

Hiring Authorization Document

Name: Su Tianfu,
ID No.5225021970073031111
Mailing Address: 255 Yaxiang Community, Building A, Huaxi Ave, Nanming District, Guiyang 550003
Phone: 158-8505-3034

The hiring authorization document.
(Photo: China Aid)

The commissioned:
Name: Li Baiguang, Liu Peifu
Occupation: Lawyer
Company: Beijing Gongxin Law Firm
Address: Room 709, Zuo’An Community, 68 North 4th Ring Road, Haidian District, Beijing
Telephone: (010) 8282-7326
Cell phone: 158-1068-9698

The client hereby hires the commissioned to act as the client’s representation in the case of Guiyang Municipal Nanming District Religious Affairs Bureau suppressing the lawful rights of Huoshi Church, of which the client is in charge, which triggered a dispute. 

The parameters of authority for the commissioned, Li Baiguang and Liu Peifu, are:

1. To represent [the client] in the matters in connected to this dispute, including, but not limited to, reporting to the related government departments, providing legal services, filing lawsuits and negotiating with related departments in order to problem solve;

2. To modify or renounce lawsuit requests;
3. To undertake lawsuit requests;
4. To file counter counter-charges;
5. To settle or mediate;
6. To file an appeal;
7. To apply to law enforcement;
8. To receive or carry out the authorization of forms;
9. To sign, send and receive legal documents.

                                   Client (signature):  Su Tianfu

China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
Email: [email protected]