A sign of warning for many Christians in China

Published 14 January 2020  |  
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The Chinese government is persecuting a lady pastor in Hubei Province with fraud charges over church donations that carries a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison.

Pastor Hao Zhiwei, who is facing charges, is a preacher in a house church that operates under a legal Chinese church.

Hao graduated from a seminary and joined the Three-Self Church in China before she started her ministry work in 2001.

Three-Self Patriotic churches are legal churches in China controlled by the Chinese communist party, and anyone who wishes to be a pastor and serve in these churches must be legally trained and ordained by the government.

Since Hao did not submit to these government rules, she was not recognized as an authorized pastor. She continued her ministry under her original Three-Self Church.

In July 2019, Hao received a notice that required her to "understand, support and cooperate with the government's administrative decisions from the perspective of ensuring the safety of the lives and property of religious people."

According to reports from ChinaAid, Hao was arrested in July and her church was demolished in August.

Because Hao was not a legally ordained pastor, the Chinese government claimed her status as a preacher to be illegal and persecuted her with fraud charges over church donation, even though the tithes were tracked and verified by others, and were in conjunction with the church.

According to Chinese lawyer Si Weijiang, this is probably the first time a pastor in China is being charged under such a case.

The Chinese government already declared nine years of imprisonment to pastor Wang Yi. Now pastor Hao is facing a minimum charge of 10 years, which surpasses that of pastor Yi.

Chinese government taking such fierce actions is widely seen as a sign of warning to many Christians in the country.

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