China Pressures Detained Pastor to Designate State-approved Lawyer

07/27/2020 China (International Christian Concern) –  A house church pastor in China’s Hunan province who was arrested on April 2 and charged with “inciting subversion of state power,” now faces longer legal process, while he’s pressured to accept state-approved lawyer.

According to China Aid, in early July, pastor Zhao Huaiguo’s wife said that the People’s Procuratorate has returned Zhao’s case to State Security Bureau to go through supplementary investigation. However, her designated lawyer has not been able to meet with her husband.

For “using VPN software to browse media reports from overseas on Coronavirus and reposting these news,” Zhao has been detained for over three months.

The lawyer hired by his wife Zhang Xinghong was told that Pastor Zhao has already hired other lawyer while being detained. However, Zhang said she hopes that her husband has self-appointed lawyer, instead of state-approved lawyer.

“The two lawyers appointed by Zhao are hired locally, from Zhangjiajie, whereas the ones hired by me are from Beijing. Other lawyers from Zhangjiajie told me that my husband was misled by the state security officials to hire state-approved lawyers while being detained. These lawyers can see Zhao Huaiguo, but the ones hired by me cannot. On July 10, my lawyers were supposed to see Zhao but were not successful, ” she said.

From March to December 2019, the public security police have repeatedly harassed Zhao’s house church, taking its leaders in for investigation and forcing them to sign an agreement that they would not preach or hold any more religious activities. The trumped up charges against him are only used to cripple his ministry.

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