Pastor Li Juncai before his arrest. (Photo: ChinaAid)
(Xinxiang, Henan Province —Jan. 11, 2020) Recently, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) authorities sentenced Yuanyang County Central House Church Pastor Li Juncai to five-and-a half years in prison plus ordered him to pay a fine of 50,000 Chinese Yuan (7701 USD). For objecting to the CCP’s forcible cross removal and refusing to change a church proclamation “Love God and people” to “Love the country…,” authorities accused Pastor Li of 1) embezzlement, 2) obstructing government administration and 3) destruction of accounting records.
In 2013, the Yuanyang County Central House Church had relinquished its status as a government-sanctioned church and merged with a local house church. Typically, as 700 to 800 believers attended services, with the church owning several buildings, it became the largest local house church in the area.
On February 20, 2019, the CCP criminally detained Pastor Li under the charge of “obstructing government administration.” Police also arrested three other Christians, Wu Raoyun, Ban Yun, and Ma Yanfang, the same day.
The next day, Yuanyang County religious affairs bureau authorities, police, and urban management officers forcibly removed the cross from the top of the church. They also removed signs inside the church, proclaiming, “Love God and people.” Authorities then forced church members to raise China’s national flag in front of the church.
Yuanyang County Central House Church after cross forcibly removed; forced to fly China’s flag. (Photo: ChinaAid)
One month after the arrests of Pastor Li and the three other Christians, authorities permitted the three believers arrested with Pastor Li to be released on bail—but continued to detain Pastor Li.
Li Chao, Pastor Li’s son, contends that CCP authorities fabricated all the charges against his father in retaliation for him taking a stance against the CCP’s demolition of the church cross and the government suppressing house churches to tighten its control over religion.
looking unto Jesus,
the author and finisher of our faith,
who for the joy that was set before Him
endured the cross, despising the shame,
and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
~ Hebrews 12:2 (NKJV)
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