A Chinese pastor has been sentenced to 2.5 years in jail after he was tortured into confessing charges of spying. The recent victim of Christian persecution is a prominent house church pastor in southwest China’s Guizhou province. He was tortured in the jail to confess the charges related to “divulging state secrets.”
The 39-year-old Li Guozhi, also known as Pastor Yang Hua will be filing an appeal case against the decision. Pastor Yang has been behind the bars since December 2015. He was accused of trying to prevent the authorities form confiscating his computer and hard drive during a raid on a house church.
Lawyer Zhao Yonglin has pointed fingers at the Communist Party officials maintaining that the authorities had ordered that the pastor should be forced into confession. He said that they had tortured pastor and verbally abused him; forcing him to confess the charges. Prosecutors have denied these allegation leveled against the authorities by Zhao Yonglin.
“The so-called state secret was a document prepared by a temporary city administrative task force calling for the destruction of Living Stone Church. But the decision itself was illegal and should have been exposed instead,” Zhao said.
Living Stone Church was shut down last year, authorities sealed the church office and suspended church’s ban accounts. While remaking about this case, Chen Jiangang, Pastor Yang’s another defense counsel said that the heart of the case is not about the spying charges, but the continuing persecution in China, which is being carried out by the government.
“Even a day in jail is too much for an innocent person,” Chen said while adding, “I have only one thing to say about this. This isn’t a judgement: it’s persecution. This is a political case that has nothing to do with the law or the truth,” he added. “This is political persecution pure and simple.”