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Monday, May 7, 2018

Chinese House Church Pastor Tried for Leaking State Secrets

War on Christianity - Chinese style

(Guiyang, Guizhou) A pastor of a now-closed house church in the capital of China’s inland Guizhou province was found guilty of “intentionally disclosing state secrets” at a trial on April 26, but the announcement of the verdict was delayed.

Su Tianfu, one of the pastors of Huoshi Church, was tried by the 12th Court of Nanming District, Guiyang, at 9:30 a.m on April 26. Su and his two defense attorneys, Xiao Yunyang and Zhang Peihong, attended the court session, but the trial was not made public and therefore was not audited. The trial lasted two hours.

According to the indictment, Su forwarded a text to a group called “The 3rd Group Chat of Huoshi Church” on WeChat, a Chinese messaging service, on Dec. 8, 2015. The text contained two pictures, which the Guizhou Provincial National Security Bureau stated contained state secrets.

“I simply forwarded a prayer letter on WeChat,” Su said, proclaiming his innocence. “According to the government, that letter contained state secrets. From a legal point of view, though, I did not ‘intentionally’ leak the state secrets. The lawyers will judge if the texts and images really contained state secrets. I will not deny the things I did, but it’s up to the lawyers to decide if they were illegal or not.”

Church sold-off by government

Huoshi Church was the largest house church in Guiyang, with more than 500 members before it was forcibly closed. The government fined the church more than 7 million yuan ($1.1 million USD), claiming that all of the donations taken over the six years of its operations were “illegal income.” Because of this, the church building and all of its property was repossessed by the government and auctioned off for 5.42 million yuan ($850,000 USD).

ChinaAid reports on persecution, such as the false charges against Pastor Su Tianfu and the shut down of Huoshi Church, in order to expose abuses by the Chinese government in order to promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law.