" Gou Hongguo http://www.officialhornetsprostore.com/ … ts-jersey/ , an associate of the leader of an illegal church, gestures in the dock at his trial at the No.2 Intermediate People's Court in Tianjin on Friday. Photo: Xinhua
TIANJIN, Aug. 5 (Xinhua) -- Gou Hongguo, an associate of the leader of an illegal church, was convicted of subverting state power and sentenced to a three-year suspended sentence on Friday.

He has also been deprived of his political rights for three years, according to the No. 2 Intermediate People's Court in Tianjin, a northern port city close to Beijing.

Gou, 55, pleaded guilty and said that he would not appeal.

The defendant, originally from Chengde City in Hebei Province, is the legal representative of two companies based in Beijing. His trial was the fourth at the Tianjin court this week.

Under the influence of Hu Shigen, leader of an illegal church, Gou formulated ideas to subvert state power, the court said in a statement. Hu was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison after being convicted of subverting state power Wednesday.

Gou, on assignment from Hu, went abroad to attend training in theories and methods of state subversion, the court added.

Since 2014, Gou colluded with a group of like-minded religious people, petitioners, lawyers and legal administrators to agitate in controversial cases and incite public hatred of the state.

He also arranged meetings and actively engaged in criminal activities to subvert the government and the socialist system, harming national security and social stability, the court said.

""Today's trial enabled me to recognize the harm I've brought to the country, society, and my family,"" Gou said in his final statement.

""I plead guilty, express my sincere remorse and accept the ruling.""

He said he had been deluded by the West's ideology of democracy and was used by ""foreign forces and those with ulterior motives,"" causing grave damage to social stability.

""I'm grateful to the government for saving me and I resolve not to participate in any criminal activities and will make a clean break with all those anti-government forces,"" Gou said.

He also thanked the judicial organs for helping him contact a hospital while he was ill in detention, saying he was really moved by such actions.

According to a court statement, he was given a light sentence because he confessed, testified against others and repented.

The court also decided that Gou posed no major threat to the community.

The second branch of the People's Procuratorate of Tianjin Municipality filed charges against Gou with Tianjin No. 2 Intermediate People's Court on July 15.

During Friday's trial, the presiding judge informed the defence team of Gou's rights and obligations in litigation. The defendant and defenders did not object to any evidence presented by prosecutors.

More than 40 people, including lawyers and journalists from China and overseas, observed the trial.

Prosecutors told the court that Gou, together with others including Hu Shigen, Zhou Shifeng and Zhai Yanmin, had conspired and plotted to subvert state power, and had ""established a systematic ideology, method and steps to achieve it.""

The defendant was accused of hyping up incidents to attract international attention and carrying out activities aimed at subverting state power. One such case was a fatal incident in Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province in December 2013, which resulted in two deaths.

After the incident, Gou joined others to support the suspect in the intentional injury case for the Suzhou incident, misrepresenting him as a ""hero of legal rights protection."" Their photos were then posted by some overseas anti-China websites.

In January 2014, Gou instigated public hatred for the government, saying ""the authorities are against the people"" during a conference held in Beijing.

""Gou's criminal facts have revealed the malicious intent of some ax-grinders, who have used illegal religious activities as a disguise and colluded with overseas anti-China forces to commit a series of crimes to subvert state power,"" prosecutors were quoted as saying.

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