Evangelical Pastor Sentenced To Over Two Years In Prison In China
An evangelical Christian pastor in China who has been detained for more than a year has been sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison.
House church pastor Yang Hua, also known as Li Guozhi, was sentenced in Guizhou province on a charge of "divulging state secrets", according to persecution watchdog China Aid.
Police raided his Huoshi Church in December 2015 and arrested Yang after he tried to stop officials from confiscating the church computer hard drives.
His lawyers later filed a suit stating he had suffered torture while in prison.
Bob Fu, president and founder of China Aid, condemned his treatment: "This is nothing but purely barbaric religious persecution. We urge President Obama and President-Elect Trump to unequivocally condemn this brutal act," he said.
Last June Yang wrote to his wife from prison urging her to place her full trust in God.
He wrote: "Our wonderful God, our Lord forever. Who can guess His wisdom and mystery? Our faith is built on His words. He never changes and never does wrong; this is the unchangeable maxim."
He also revealed he had suffered liver disease and scabies in prison. But he added: "The suffering is bearable. The Lord has grace. The canker sore has not returned since May of this year. Thank God."
He concluded: "Never be dejected and despondent, always look up at our Lord, and always keep the spiritual life above the chaos of the real environment.
"Rest in God's arms. 'Some rely on chariots, some on horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord.' Be upright and take care. Be prepared for the rest of the road. I will go with you. If the Lord doesn't allow it, not a single hair (from your head) will drop to the floor."
Yang's original charges were "obstructing justice" and "gathering a crowd to disturb public order".
He completed the sentences on these charges, and was then charged with "illegally possessing state secrets" for which he has now been sentenced.