01/13/2021 China (International Christian Concern) – Having firmly resisted the cross removal at his church, Pastor Li Juncai from Zhongxin Church in Xinxiang County, Henan province, has been recently sentenced to five years in prison and a hefty fine of 210,000 RMB (32,487 USD).
Pastor Li was first detained by local authorities on February 20, 2019, along with three other Christians from his church: Wu Raoyun, Bai Yun, and Ma Yanfang, after being accused of disrupting public service.
When Henan government removed crosses across the province, Pastor Li stood his ground and refused to let them have their way. He also fought against the installation of a flag-raising platform at his church and the replacement of sign from “Love God Love People” to “Love [Your] Country Love [Your] Religion.”
According to China Aid, pastor Li was sentenced for 1) embezzlement, 2) obstructing government administration and 3) destruction of accounting records. However, 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.
Henan province is estimated to have a Christian population of several million. According to The Amity Foundation, Henan takes up nearly ¼ of Christian population in the country. Some overseas commentators call it the “Galilee of China.” Starting from 2018, the authorities in the province began to clamp down on churches, hoping to significantly reduce the number of churches and Christians.
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