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Zhang Chunlei. Credit: Facebook/Zhang Chunlei
Zhang Chunlei. Credit: Facebook/Zhang Chunlei
World News

Leader of Love Reformed Church in China placed in criminal detention

Zhang Chunlei, an elder of Love Reformed Church in Guiyang in China's Guizhou province is in detention following a police raid on a Christian retreat.

Mr Zhang was detained after he went to make inquiries at a police station following the raid on a private rented property in Guiyang after ten people, who were taking part in the retreat, were taken to the station.

Following his detention, officers raided the homes of Mr Zhang and several other church members, and subsequently issued Mr Zhang and three others with penalties of administrative detention for 'illegally operating as an association'. 

Reports of Mr Zhang's detention emerged on March 28.

According to Christians from the area, Guizhou has a reputation for aggressively suppressing unregistered house churches.

A notice issued by the Religious Affairs Bureau in Yunyan District, Guiyang, dated 17 March 2021, stated that the property where the Christian retreat was held has been banned from holding activities in accordance with the Regulations on Religious Affairs.  

Elder Zhang was among the first signatories of the joint statement entitled 'Declaration for the Sake of the Christian Faith', which was issued by 34 house churches following the enactment of the Regulations on Religious Affairs in February 2018, as reported by CSW.

CSW's Founder President Mervyn Thomas said: "CSW condemns the criminal detention of Zhang Chunlei, which comes amid an ongoing crackdown on house churches in Guizhou, Chongqing, and across China. We call for his immediate and unconditional release, and once again urge the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to ensure that the right to freedom of religion or belief is fully upheld for all citizens in accordance with the standards laid out in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We further call on the international community to take steps to ensure Zhang's release, raising his case with the Chinese government at every opportunity in public and in private."

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