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Former Three Self pastor detained for two years without trial

A Christian pastor who was once a preacher for a Chinese Three-Self church has been jailed for more than two years without trial. The authorities in Hubei province’s Ezhou accused her of “fraud” for collecting offerings from her congregants and preaching without proper credentials.


According to China Aid, Pastor Hao Zhiwei of Egangqiao Church has been in custody for two years and four months since her arrest in July 2019. Her attorney, Si Weijiang, claimed that this might be the first case in China where a house church pastor was accused of fraud for preaching the gospel.

On the 23rd of November, Si Weijiang was able to meet with Pastor Hao and gave updates of the pastor and her sons to China Aid. He disclosed that Moses—Pastor Hao’s youngest son attending middle school— currently suffers from severe depression. Her husband passed away a few years ago, and her oldest son started college last year so he 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.

Pastor Hao was heartbroken when she heard the news. Her health is not in the greatest shape, either. After being detained for more than two years, she has developed acute pancreatitis four times and was sent to the emergency room. She nearly lost her life. Si noticed that Hao’s weight has dropped significantly, and half of her hair has turned white. Yet, Hao has a strong faith that she can be released without charge.

Pastor Hao Zhiwei graduated from South Central Seminary in 2001 and was once offered to preach at Ezhou’s Three-Self Church. Later, she disagreed with the Religion Bureau’s governance on state-sanctioned churches, so they rejected her pastor license application in 2007. The Ezhou Three-Self Church was shut down and converted into a house church, later called Egangqiao Church. 


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