China announces jail term for Christian church leader
In a week of activist trials and public confessions held by the Chinese courts, a prominent Christian church leader became the latest to be jailed. The name of the accused is Hu Shigen; the leader of an underground church movement, he was found guilty of subversion. Hu Shigen was sentenced to a jail term of 7-and-a-half years and a 5-year deprivation of political rights.
The 709 Crackdown
On 9th July, 2015, China began suppressing those that it believed to be against its legal rulings. The community of human rights lawyers was attacked, with prominent human rights lawyers "disappearing" one after another. They were abducted and transported to an unknown facility. The Chinese Police denied (and still deny) having the persons; family members and lawyers of the accused are denied communication access.
Chinese Criminal Procedure Law
Article 73 of the Chinese Criminal Procedure Law states that persons involved in suspected crimes against national security are allowed to be held for up to 6 months, devoid of any legal counsel.
Human Rights Activist convicted for Subversion
A suspended three-year prison sentence was received by a human rights activist charged with subversion of state power on 2nd August, 2016. A news report by the Xinhua News Agency confirmed the sentence passed by the Tianjin court on Zhai Yanmin. Yanmin was arrested in July 2015 along with 300 other lawyers and activists when the government campaign paralysed China's legal activist circles.
Zhai Yanmin's hearing
In a court confession, Zhai Yanmin confessed to methodically hyping politically sensitive cases with a group of lawyers, citizens and petitioners. Popular rallies were organised during controversial human rights cases, drawing international attention in order to undermine the Chinese state. Zhai was said to have "conspired and plotted to subvert state power," and "established a systematic ideology, method and steps to achieve it."
Zhai Yanmin's Sentence
Zhai Yanmin's sentence was suspended for four years, which means that instead of going to prison, he will have to live under considerable restrictions and supervision. Yanmin lost all political rights for the same span of time, restricting him from running for local councils and other offices. On disobeying rules set for his release during the 4-year-period, Yanmin will be sent to prison.
Hu Shigen's Sentence
At the start of his hearing before the Tianjin No 2 Intermediate People's Court, Hu Shigen pleaded guilty to "subversion, damaging national security and harming social stability." Shigen decided not to appeal the 7-year jail-term received by him. Accused of leading an "underground organisation" that masqueraded as a church, Hu was determined to identify and draw attention to the government's abuses.
What Hu Shegin's Prosecutors said
According to reports by the Xinhua News Agency, prosecutors said, "Hu's ideology and his behaviors have seriously harmed the country and social stability."