Leaders of Linfen Golden Lampstand Church arrested again, facing criminal charges

Preacher Yang of Linfen Golden Lampstand Church released in 2016
(Photo: ChinaAid)



(Linfen, Shanxi Province—January 13,
2022) Authorities arrested nine leaders of Linfen Golden Lampstand Church. While
some were released on bail, more leaders were arrested. 

 

Officials initially released the
following on bail: Feng Junyingzi, Chen Qinglan, Li Qin, Wang Xianfeng, and
Yang Hongzhen. However, the following seven people were formally arrested on
September 27: Pastor Wang Xiaoguang and his wife Yang Rongli, Li Shuangping.
Dong Yongyong, Zhao Guoai, Huo Zhuangping, and Wu Linge. The Chinese Communist
Party (CCP) suspected all of them of “fraud” and transferred the case on
December 27.

 

Last August, a joint law enforcement action arrested nine
leaders of Linfen Golden Lampstand Church, including pastor Wang Xiaoguang and
his wife Yang Rongli. Before that, pastor Wang had spent 3 years in prison
for his Christian belief. Preacher Yang Rongli was imprisoned for 7 years. In
July 2021, Linfen’s local government launched a large campaign among all
communities to find the core leaders of Golden Lampstand Church. Meanwhile, police summoned
many preachers related to Golden Lampstand for interrogation.

 

Linfen Golden Lampstand Church is a large house church
with 50,000 members. Members donated ¥17 million (2,673,502 USD) to build their
church building. However, the local government forcibly demolished it on January 9,
2018.

 

In the past, Pastor Wang and Preacher Yang worked for Shaanxi
Normal University. They resigned from their jobs in 1998 and started serving
the Church full-time. Preacher Yang, a fifth-generation Christian, became a believer
at a young age. Pastor Wang, who authored more than 10 biblical books, presented an in-depth analysis of China’s house churches. Their church grew from less than
100 members to more than 50,000.

 

During this time of growth, the Church held to the authentic Christian faith. They refused to join the Communist-sanctioned Three-Self
Church or register with the Religious Affairs Bureau. Consequently, CCP
authorities constantly persecuted and suppressed members. Since 2004, local
government officials have frequently cut off their water and power. In 2009,
the renowned September 13 crackdown occurred.

 

At approximately 3 am on September 13, 2009, Fushan
County CCP authorities ordered more than 400 police to raid Golden Lampstand
Church and its evangelical shoe factory. Police officers brutally beat
Christians who had been sleeping in their apartments, injuring more than 100
people to the point some lost consciousness and required emergency medical
care. Authorities contracted bulldozers and excavators to destroy buildings,
appliances, cooking wares, and other Church possessions.

 

Less than three weeks later, armed police besieged Golden
Lampstand Church’s main building.  Police officers accosted Preacher Yang
and six other Church leaders on their way to Taiyuan to petition higher
authorities. Government officials offered Preacher Yang and Church leaders ¥10
million (1,541,782 USD) to purchase Golden Lampstand Church, but they rejected
the offer.

 

Preacher Yang told them:

 

The Brothers
and Sisters of our Church paid more than ¥10 million to build the Church. I did
not pay any money. You need to ask them. If they agree to sell the Church, you
give the money to them. If they disagree, I cannot do anything. I do not have
the authority to make that decision for them.

 

On October 8, 2009, police officers raided Pastor Wang’s
home. On October 11, officials criminally detained Pastor Wang, Preacher Yang
Rongli, and seven other church leaders. On November 2, however, the
procuratorate transferred the case to the court.
On
November 25, Yaodu District Court officials ruled that Golden Lampstand Church
leaders had committed crimes of “illegally occupying farmland,” and “assembling
a crowd to disturb traffic order.” The judge sentenced:

·       Preacher Yang Rongli to a severe seven years in prison and
a fined ¥30,000 (4,625 USD).

·       Pastor Wang to three years in prison and was fined ¥10,000
(1,541 USD).

  • Yang
    Xuan to serve three and a half years in prison and pay a fine of ¥20,000
    (3,083 USD).
  • Cui
    Jiaxing to serve five and a half years in prison and fined ¥50,000 (7,708
    USD).
  • Ms.
    Zhang Huamei to serve four years in prison.

 

After court sentences, CCP officials banned Golden
Lampstand’s more than 30 gathering locations. Authorities released
Pastor Wang from prison in 2012 and Preacher Yang in 2016. 

 

Preacher Yang (left) and Pastor Wang (right)
(Photo: ChinaAid source)

In 2021, five years after CCP authorities released
Preacher Yang, she was arrested again. This time, she was charged with “fraud”.
The “fraud” charge is frequently used by CCP to persecute Christians.

 

~ Yu Bing, ChinaAid special reporter




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