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Zhang Chunlei China pastor Credit Twitter Zhang Chunlei.png 2.png
Zhang Chunlei China pastor Credit Twitter Zhang Chunlei.png
Church News

Chinese church elder charged with 'inciting subversion of state power'

by Alex Collett

A church elder from China has been charged with 'inciting subversion of state power' following a charge of fraud. 

Zhang Chunlei was the leader of Love Reformed Church in Guiyang, a church that had not been registered with the Chinese Government.

Kiri Kankawhende, from Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) told Premier the situation is desperate. 

"What's happened to elder Zhang is that he was actually arrested last year on charges of fraud, which are charges that are often levelled against pastors and unregistered denominations, because they're accused of impersonating church leaders - even though they aren't church leaders - because the government doesn't recognise their authority or their congregations. 

"So he was charged with fraud and told that he would be fined. 

"Unfortunately, what's happened since is that the charges he's facing have been stepped up."

Kankawhende continued: "He has been charged with a very serious national security charge, called inciting subversion of state power, which is something pretty heavy and something that is often levelled against political dissidents, people who criticise the Government, human rights activists, and having done that.

"It means that the government can obviously level very heavy sentences against him. [Such as] prison sentences, fines… but it also meant that many months between June last year and January [he was] denied access to his lawyer. 

"It also then puts it sort of as a roll of the dice now we're not sure sort of how they're going to charge him what penalties he may face, it really steps up the harassment of elder Zhang out of his church."
Kankawhende also shared how CSW is planning to help Elder Zhang.

"We are taking his case, forward and all the arenas in which we work, whether it's the United Nations, or the European Union, UK Parliament… so many of our UK parliamentarians care about human rights and what's happening in China.

"Like these ones, we encourage our MPs to ask the Foreign Office to raise this issue when they meet with them. 

"We all have a part to play and we would really encourage people to write to their MPs about his case. " 

He concluded: "Pray for him and for his family. 

"When he was initially arrested, his wife was also arrested for a brief period as well. 

"So this family has been through a lot. They're now facing the uncertainty of not knowing when they're going to see him again, so please do pray for his wife, for his family and his congregation."

"They're now facing the uncertainty of not knowing when they're going to see him again, so please do pray for his wife, for his family and his congregation."

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