(Guiyang, Guizhou province) Mrs. Yang Aiqing, the wife of Ren’ai Reformed Church’s Elder Zhang Chunlei, posted an update on her husband’s case on social media. Zhang’s lawyer met with him in Guiyang city detention center on June 6. According to the lawyer, Zhang lost some weight but was in good health. He asked fellow Christians to pray for him, but not to worry about him. He is waiting for God’s time and he is praying for other Christians every day.
More than four months have passed since Elder Zhang’s case was transferred from Guiyang City People’s Procuratorate to Guiyang City Intermediate People’s Court, but his lawyer has not yet received any indictment papers.
On the evening of March 16, 2021, Elder Zhang Chunlei went to the local police station to visit several arrested Christians from his church. However, officers arrested him at the police station. They administratively detained Zhang for 15 days the next morning. After the detention period ended, he was criminally detained for another 37 days. He was formally arrested on May 1 and charged with “fraud.” He has not yet received a trial. Ren’ai Reformed Church is one of the main targets of the local government. The church was raided on March 16, 2021. The pastor and several Christians were arrested, and police searched their homes. It was one of the biggest persecution actions against house churches after the massive crackdown against Early Rain Covenant Church on December 9, 2018.
Elder Zhang Chunlei was once an official of the Guizhou provincial government. Because of his Christian belief, he resigned and became a full-time leader of Ren’ai Reformed Church. During the Sunday service, his church was raided and banned on May 12, 2019. After that, some other government officials were attracted to his church and became Christians. Some of them lost their job because of their new faith.
Elder Zhang Chunlei has been imprisoned for over a year. His lawyer’s requests to visit him have been rejected several times. Since his lawyer was not able to meet with the judge or receive a notice of formal accusation, the date for his trial remains unknown. The Procuratorate did not tell anyone what crime Elder Zhang committed. They arrested him first and took their time to make a fabricated charge. Sadly, this trick is commonly used by China’s legal system.
Early Rain Covenant Church posted Mrs. Yang Aiqing’s prayer request letter on their Telegram channel, urging Christians to continue to pray for the couple and Ren’ai Reformed.
~Yu Bing, China Aid Special Reporter