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11/08/2021 China (International Christian Concern) – Elder Zhang Chunlei, a leader of Love (Ren’ai) Reformed Church in Guiyang in China’s southwestern Guizhou province, arrested and accused of fraud since March 16, 2021, is again being denied access to his lawyer.

According to a Chinese Twitter user who regularly reports on Christian persecution in China, recently, Elder Zhang’s lawyer went to Guiyang to retrieve legal documents pertaining to Zhang’s case from Yunyen district’s Procuratorate.

According to the recommended indictment, the Public Security Bureau in Guiyang accuses Zhang of not having the status of religious clergy sanctioned by the state, yet he held religious gatherings and swindled believers of 100,000 RMB (15,642 USD), committing fraud.

On October 29, Zhang’s case was sent back to Yunyen district’s Public Security Bureau for further investigation. It is likely that it will be handled by Guiyang city’s Procuratorate.

Zhang’s lawyer went to visit Zhang at the detention center but was denied access because Zhang’s case “allegedly endangers national security.”

On the same day, Zhang’s lawyer met with the state security officer in charge of Zhang’s case. The officer informed Zhang’s lawyer that during the investigation, the authorities found that Zhang’s action also allegedly involved “subversion of state power,” thus they have established another case against Zhang.

Given that the investigation is ongoing, the officer told Zhang’s lawyer that no details can be revealed and that he cannot visit Zhang. They will inform the lawyer once the investigation is complete.

Elder Zhang’s case is noted by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom and he was marked as being detained for his religious identity and activity. The house church leader is vocal against religious persecution and has been repeatedly denied access to his lawyer.

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