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Christian leader jailed for 12 years amid Chinese church crackdown

ICC Note:

A prominent Chinese pastor of the Nanle County Christian Church in Henan Province, Zhang Shaojie, was sentenced to 12 years in prison and fined 100,000 yuan (US $16,113) on July 4 by the Nanle County People’s Court in China’s central Henan province. Together with 23 other church members, the pastor was detained last November after a dispute with local government officials who “they claimed were trying to seize the land on which their place of worship was built”. Many people see this case as an indication of the government’s continued hostility toward the Christian churches.

07/04/2014 China (The Telegraph)- A prominent church leader from central China has been jailed for 12 years amid claims that his imprisonment is an attempt to clamp down on the region’s fast growing Christian church.

Zhang Shaojie, the head of Henan province’s Nanle County Church, received the sentence for “gathering crowds to disturb public order” and fraud on Friday morning, Zhang Xinyun, his lawyer, confirmed, declining to give further details.

The pastor was detained last November along with 23 other church members after a dispute with local Communist Party officials who they claimed were trying to seize the land on which their place of worship was built, activists say.

Journalists from Britain’s Sky News were attacked and expelled from the area by government officials as they tried to report on the church’s plight last December.

The high-profile case has appalled members of China’s fast growing Christian community, which some believe could become the world’s largest in the coming decades. Many see the pastor’s treatment is an indication of the Communist Party’s continued hostility towards their church.

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