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China: Dissident Christian Pastor Arrested

For background on Orthodox Christianity in China, see here.

For previous coverage of the persecution of Christians in China, see here.

“Bengbu Dissident Christian Pastor Arrested,” by Wang Zhipeng, Bitter Winter, April 24, 2023:

Popular house church Pastor Wan Changchun was arrested earlier this month when he was traveling in Lijiang, Yunnan province, and taken back to the prison of his home city of Bengbu, Anhui province, where he is currently detained, according to information supplied by his co-workers to Bitter Winter and other human rights media.

Wan is the pastor of the Living Stone Reformed Church in Bengbu. In 2018, he was one of the house church leaders who signed a statement against the 2017 Regulation on Religious Affairs.

The new Regulation came into force on February 1, 2018. The statement had been drafted by Pastor Wang Yi, of Chengdu’s Early Rain Covenant Church, later sentenced to nine years in jail in 2019. It denounced the Regulation as a tool whose aim was to coerce independent house churches into joining the government-controlled Three-Self Church. It stated that, “under no circumstances will we lead our churches to join a religious organization controlled by the government, to register with the religious administration department, or to accept any kind of affiliation. We also will not accept any ‘ban’ or ‘fine’ imposed on our churches due to our faith. For the sake of the gospel, we are prepared to bear all losses—even the loss of our freedom and our lives.”…

Pastor Wan’s wife and several elders, deacons, and co-workers of the Living Stone Reformed Church were taken to police stations for questioning and then released.

The bank accounts of the church were closed. On April 14, 2023, Pastor Wan’s home was raided by the police. Religious items and documents were confiscated.

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