Pastor sues local government from prison

Source:  www.chinaaid.org

Date:  November 28, 2017

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, 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.” The government fined him and another of the church’s pastors, Su Tianfu, 7 million yuan ($1,020,200 USD), which officials claimed the church had received as “illegal income.” However, church members donated their money voluntarily to the church Su and Yang 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 his case.

Quoting the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, he argued that neither he, nor Su, nor Huoshi Church had violated laws concerning religious freedom.

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