Female Pastor Jailed for 8 years for Operating House Church

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A female pastor in China has been jailed for 8 years for preaching the gospel and receiving donations from church members outside of the permission of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement of the Protestant Churches and the Christian Council. The incident happened in the Hubei province in China.

Pastor Hao Zhiwei (51) was in police custody for two and a half years before she was jailed. She reportedly led a house church (a fellowship) in Ezhou, China.

She was arrested in 2019 after she refused to join the Three-Self Church. Her lawyer said that while several house church pastors have been arrested for fraud, Hao is the first in the country to be implicated in a fraud case.

Hao is survived by her two sons. Her husband passed away several years ago. Hao’s youngest son, Moses, attends middle school and suffers from depression.

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It was reported that her husband passed away a few years ago and her oldest son who started college in 2020 can no longer take care of his younger brother. Moses dropped out this semester and began locking himself in a room. He refuses to interact with people and only has one meal per day.

Hao’s church building was also demolished in 2019 amid ongoing persecution.

Media reports confirmed that the Chinese Communist Party replaced its 2005 Regulations for Religious Affairs with a new version in an attempt to force house churches to join state-controlled religious organizations.

The party used cross removal, the sealing and demolishing of church buildings, the banning of church offerings, and “Sinicization” to try to coerce churches into joining the Three-Self Patriotic Movement. Sinicization is the practice of incorporating Chinese culture, religious and political ideology into Christianity.

“Other charges include: ‘illegal business operations,’ ‘inciting subversion of state power,’ ‘picking quarrels and provoking trouble,’ and so on. These charges are thorns on loyal preacher’s head and God’s crown for His loyal servants,” the group added.

Pastor Hao’s health is deteriorating in prison, and she has lost a significant amount of weight but her faith remains strong.

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