On February 6, 2016, Gu Yuese, the pastor of China’s largest official mega-church was charged and arrested under falsified embezzlement charges. On March 31, 2016, he was released on a one-year bail term, but he was re-arrested on January 7, 2017 on the same charges. On July 16th, Pastor Gu fired one of his lawyers. However, there is speculation that the Chinese government manipulated this action. We are currently awaiting more information in regards to Gu’s pre-trial.
07/26/2017 China (China Aid) – In one of China’s most prominent religious persecution cases in the last 30 years, the pastor of the country’s largest official mega-church fired one of his lawyers on July 16, triggering speculations that the dismissal may have come as a result of official manipulation.
Zhang Peihong, one of the attorneys representing imprisoned Chinese pastor Gu Yuese, received a notice on July 13 telling him to promptly arrive at the court at 9:15 a.m. on July 20 for a pre-trial meeting. Three days after the notification, he received a letter from Gu, in which he detailed that “the last thing I want is to get you involved because of me. I do not want you to lose your freedom for me. Therefore, you do not need to defend me in Hangzhou. I am very grateful for what you have done for me.”
A ChinaAid reporter reached out to Gu’s other lawyer, Xie Bingbing, but did not get a response.
One Christian suspects that authorities might have bribed Gu with promises of a suspended sentence in order to get him to fire Zhang.
On Jan. 18, 2016, Gu became the highest profile case of Christian persecution since the Cultural Revolution when the Zhejiang Provincial China Christian Council, a local branch of one of China’s two official Christian organizations, ousted him from his position as senior pastor of Chongyi Church, China’s largest state-run church, and criminally detained him on falsified embezzlement charges. At the time, Gu was serving as the chairman of the organization. On Feb. 6, 2016, the local procuratorate approved his arrest, and his ordination was revoked, along with his leadership and membership to the Zhejiang Provincial China Christian Council. He was granted a one-year bail term on March 31, 2016, but he was re-arrested on the same charge on Jan. 7, 2017.