|Gu “Joseph” Yuese|
By Brynne Lawrence
(Hangzhou, Zhejiang—April 1, 2016) Authorities in China’s coastal Zhejiang province released the pastor of China’s largest government-sanctioned church today under the condition that he remain under “residential surveillance.”
On Jan. 18, the provincial Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) and the China Christian Council (CCC), branches of China’s two state-run Christian organizations, published a notice that ousted Gu “Joseph” Yuese, the senior pastor of China’s largest officially-approved megachurch, from his position. Officials criminally detained Gu on Jan. 29 and arrested him on Feb. 6 on charges of “embezzling 10 million Yuan (U.S. $1.6 million) in funds.” However, many local Christians link Gu’s arrest to his public opposition of an ongoing cross demolition campaign.
“I want to share the good news that I just confirmed that Pastor Gu ‘Joseph’ Yuese of Hangzhou was released from prison on March 31 to his home but remains under ‘residential surveillance,’” Bob Fu, president of China Aid, said. “We’ve learned from a China–based insider that the release of both human rights lawyer Zhang Kai and Pastor Gu are related to President Xi’s visit to the U.S. for the nuclear summit. Thanks to all those who worked tirelessly on related advocacy efforts that led to this diplomatic breakthrough.”
Gu is the highest-ranking religious official arrested since the Cultural Revolution.
China Aid will continue to update this story once more information becomes available.
China Aid reports cases such as Gu “Joseph” Yuese’s in order to expose abuses perpetrated by the Chinese government and promote religious freedom and rule of law in China.