- “The case is set to have a far-reaching legal impact that could see more house church pastors like Hao come under more legal scrutiny on top of the existing administrative regulations over religious affairs,” Si Weijiang, Hao’s lawyer, said.
- Hao’s trial was originally set for January and then apparently postponed until August but there is still no notice of when it will take place. The coronavirus pandemic has also caused delays, suggesting that Hao could remain in detention for some time.
- Hao’s 17-year-old son, who identified himself as Paul, said …“The government is indefinitely postponing the trial as they continue to look for evidence so they can frame my mother by building a fraud case against her that never existed in the first place,” Paul also said he was staying on campus at a university in eastern Zhejiang province but his 13-year-old brother lived at home in Ezhou with a part-time domestic helper.
- … Hao graduated from the official Zhongnan Theological Seminary in 2001 and was employed as a preacher by the government-sanctioned Egangqiao Church in Ezhou in 2003. [Nevertheless, according] to the indictment document, Hao is accused of illegally ordaining herself as a pastor in 2013 without government approval. [Si argues that Hao was ordained according to house church tradition.]
Amidst the separation from his mother and the church demolition, Paul stated that he and his brother are at peace. “We have faith in God that he will never give us a trial that we cannot bear.”
Si said Hao refuses to plead guilty and if convicted, faces a minimum of 10 years in prison. He expressed concern that a conviction could set a precedent for CCP authorities to use charges of financial irregularities to prosecute other house church leaders.