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03/23/2021 China (International Christian Concern) – On March 17, Xinxiang Intermediate People’s Court in Henan Province rejected Pastor Li Juncai’s appeal and upheld the original verdict which he was sentenced to five and a half years for several trumped up charges.

For standing up against the authorities’ demolition of his church cross and the government’s suppression of house churches in order to tightly control religion, Pastor Li from Zhongxin Church in Xinxiang County was sentenced on December 20, 2020 for 1) embezzlement, 2) obstructing government administration and 3) destruction of accounting records. He was also asked to pay a hefty fine of 210,000 RMB (32,487 USD).

According to China Aid, during Pastor Li’s appeal trial, Chang Boyang and Wen Yu, his defense lawyers, refuted all the charges from his December trial. They also provided detailed evidence, indicating that none of the charges agreed with the facts. Nevertheless, although Pastor Li’s lawyers presented sufficient evidence, the court failed to overturn the first court’s erroneous verdict.

Pastor Li’s church was once a state-approved Three-Self church, until it left the system in 2013. The house church has nearly 800 members and is the largest church in the area with several buildings.

For interviews, please contact Alison Garcia: press@persecution.org