(Xi’an, Shaanxi Province – January 23, 2023) Authorities arrested two Xi’an Church of Abundance pastors for “fraud”—Lian Xuliang and his father Lian Changnian. Without any update in five months, Pastor Lian Xuliang’s wife published an open letter on Chinese social media defending her husband and father-in-law.
The work of Xi’an Church of Abundance
In her letter, she said members of their church committed no crimes. Nobody in their congregation ever divorced. According to her, God transformed the hearts of the congregation:
Who doesn’t want to see a marriage turning from the verge of collapsing into a good relationship? My husband and my father-in-law are both faithful people. I don’t understand why they were charged with fraud and endangering national security.
Arrest and RSDL
Pastor Lian Changnian was born in 1954, almost 70 years old. His son Lian Xuliang became an ordained pastor not long ago. On the afternoon of August 17, 2022, police officers suddenly searched their homes and took 5 people to the police station for interrogation, including Lian Xuliang’s 8-year-old son. Police also took away Preacher Fu Juan.
The next day, both families received a notice of Residential Surveillance at a Designated Location (RSDL). According to the statement, all three leaders were charged on suspicion of fraud.
Families of imprisoned Pastors
Lian Xuliang’s wife wrote: ”Growing up in a pastor’s family, it’s normal for my husband to become a pastor. However, the abnormal part was that my husband knew his dad was once imprisoned in the detention center. He became a pastor knowing that he may be imprisoned someday. We rarely see parents hope their children go to prison. Those who have ever been imprisoned usually try their best to hide the history of imprisonment, especially from their children. Everyone wants their children to live a smooth life and not to repeat their nightmare.”
Pastor Lian’s character
According to the post, Lian Xuliang rejected a donation of ￥1,500(~$222) from a fellow church member. He told them that Xi’an Church of Abundance already provided for his family, about ￥4,000 a month (~$590). “I don’t understand why such a person was charged with fraud,” she wrote. Furthermore, during their 14 years of marriage, no one has ever called or asked for their money. Nor did she ever hear someone call the police to report a case.
Pastor Lian’s wife also tagged many public accounts and pages, hoping to draw legal and media attention. However, the Chinese social media platform Weibo removed her post almost immediately.
~Yu Bing, ChinaAid Special Reporter