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Chinese church elder released from prison after serving four year sentence

by Alex Collett
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An elder from a church in China has been released from prison after serving a four year prison sentence.

Qin Defu, from the Early Rain Church in Chengdu was arrested in December 2018 and charged with 'illegal business operations'.

The authorities stated the charge was in relation to 20,000 Christian books used by the church.

The arrests were part of a wider clampdown on the church.

More than 100 other members of the Early Rain church were also arrested at the same time as Mr Defu, including Early Rain Church's pastor Wang Yi who is at the moment serving a nine year prison sentence.

Yi was also charged with 'illegal business operations' and 'inciting subversion.'

Christian Solidarity Worldwide’s (CSW) founder president Mervyn Thomas has welcomed the release of Mr Defu but says questions remain.

"We believe that he has spent four years unjustly separated from his family and friends.

"The charges against him were completely unfounded, as are those against Pastor Wang Yi, who was jailed as a reprisal for speaking out on behalf of churches and Christians in China.

"We call on the Chinese authorities to ensure that Elder Qin is able to enjoy his freedom without further harassment, and for the targeting of members of Early Rain Church to stop. Pastor Wang Yi must also be released immediately and without conditions."

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