Radio Free never accepts money from corporations, governments or billionaires – keeping the focus on supporting independent media for people, not profits. Since 2010, Radio Free has supported the work of thousands of independent journalists, learn more about how your donation helps improve journalism for everyone.

Make a monthly donation of any amount to support independent media.





Online pastor in China’s Dalian gets 14 years for ‘superstition’

Kan Xiaoying, his wife and 4 members are jailed. The unofficial church had gained a wide following.

A court in the northeastern Chinese city of Dalian has jailed a prominent online Protestant pastor for 14 years after finding him and five church members guilty of "using superstition to undermine the law," Radio Free Asia has learned.

Dalian's Ganjingzi District People's Court found Kan Xiaoyong, his wife Wang Fengying and church members Chu Xinyu, Zhao Qianjiao, Zhang Songai and Liang Dongzhi guilty of the charge on Jan. 12, a person familiar with the case who asked to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals told RFA Mandarin.

Kan, who is in his 60s, was jailed for 14 years after a deal was struck between prosecution and defense, while Wang was sent to prison for four years, the source said.

"When he was arrested, they thought he would get more than 20 years in prison," they said. "But after strong resistance from his lawyers, the authorities compromised and lowered the sentence appropriately."

"[The prosecution] started out asking for the wife to get 15-18 years, but she wound up getting four," the person said. "They actually all got sentences below the minimum."

Church members and volunteer workers Chu Xinyu, Zhao Qianjiao, Zhang Songai, and Liang Dongzhi received prison terms ranging from three to 10 years, they said.

"It may seem that the defense was a success, but actually none of them is guilty," they said.

Kan came to the attention of the authorities after he and Wang went to live in Dalian from their home city of Wuhan in 2018, setting up an online preaching platform called the Home Discipleship Network.

They were initially arrested by Dalian police along with the four other church members in October 2021.

Unofficial church, ‘huge influence’

The source said Kan's activities are seen as a threat by the ruling Chinese Communist Party because his church is unofficial, yet his sermons garnered large numbers of followers among Chinese Christians.

"Firstly, it's a house church [not registered with the government], and secondly, this pastor's online sermons had a huge influence on people, and he has a very good reputation," the person said. "That's why they had to crack down on him."

He said online preachers are highly likely to be accused of running "cults" or peddling "superstition."

Both Kan and Wang told the court that they were tortured by police in Dalian, who wanted them to "confess" to the charges against them.

"During interrogation, a police officer took off their leather shoe and hit Xiaoyong on the head with it, and punched him," the source said. "They made Wang Fengying kneel on the ground and kicked her in the thighs."

"Everyone was tortured for two or three hours, and this was stated orally by the parties involved in court," they said. "There was no official refutation of their account as rumor."

Forced to fragment

Xu Yonghai, an elder of a house church in Beijing, said many of the more popular Protestant churches have been forced to fragment in recent years under pressure from the authorities.

"A lot of churches can only meet if they divide themselves into dozens of small groups," Xu said. "Underground gatherings are now just family gatherings."

"We are now back to the 1980s and early 1990s," he said.

The Chinese government under Communist Party leader Xi Jinping regards Christianity as a dangerous foreign import, with party documents warning against the "infiltration of Western hostile forces" in the form of religion.

The party, which embraces atheism, exercises tight controls over any form of religious practice among its citizens.

Churches are allowed to function if they are part of the government-backed Three-Self Patriotic Association. The three “selfs” refer to self-governance, self-support and self-propagation – essentially rejecting any foreign influence – and the “patriotic” refers to loyalty to the Chinese government.

State security police and religious affairs bureau officials frequently raid unofficial "house churches," although member churches have also been targeted at times.

China is home to an estimated 68 million Protestants, of whom 23 million worship in state-affiliated “Three-Self” churches, and some 9 million Catholics, the majority of whom are in state-sponsored organizations.

The authorities last year rolled out a database of approved religious leaders in a nationwide clampdown on who gets to practice religion, and how.

Translated by Luisetta Mudie. Edited by Malcolm Foster.


This content originally appeared on Radio Free Asia and was authored by By Gao Feng for RFA Mandarin.


Print Share Comment Cite Upload Translate Updates

Leave a Reply

APA

By Gao Feng for RFA Mandarin | Radio Free (2024-01-16T15:44:23+00:00) Online pastor in China’s Dalian gets 14 years for ‘superstition’. Retrieved from https://www.radiofree.org/2024/01/16/online-pastor-in-chinas-dalian-gets-14-years-for-superstition/

MLA
" » Online pastor in China’s Dalian gets 14 years for ‘superstition’." By Gao Feng for RFA Mandarin | Radio Free - Tuesday January 16, 2024, https://www.radiofree.org/2024/01/16/online-pastor-in-chinas-dalian-gets-14-years-for-superstition/
HARVARD
By Gao Feng for RFA Mandarin | Radio Free Tuesday January 16, 2024 » Online pastor in China’s Dalian gets 14 years for ‘superstition’., viewed ,<https://www.radiofree.org/2024/01/16/online-pastor-in-chinas-dalian-gets-14-years-for-superstition/>
VANCOUVER
By Gao Feng for RFA Mandarin | Radio Free - » Online pastor in China’s Dalian gets 14 years for ‘superstition’. [Internet]. [Accessed ]. Available from: https://www.radiofree.org/2024/01/16/online-pastor-in-chinas-dalian-gets-14-years-for-superstition/
CHICAGO
" » Online pastor in China’s Dalian gets 14 years for ‘superstition’." By Gao Feng for RFA Mandarin | Radio Free - Accessed . https://www.radiofree.org/2024/01/16/online-pastor-in-chinas-dalian-gets-14-years-for-superstition/
IEEE
" » Online pastor in China’s Dalian gets 14 years for ‘superstition’." By Gao Feng for RFA Mandarin | Radio Free [Online]. Available: https://www.radiofree.org/2024/01/16/online-pastor-in-chinas-dalian-gets-14-years-for-superstition/. [Accessed: ]
rf:citation
» Online pastor in China’s Dalian gets 14 years for ‘superstition’ | By Gao Feng for RFA Mandarin | Radio Free | https://www.radiofree.org/2024/01/16/online-pastor-in-chinas-dalian-gets-14-years-for-superstition/ |

Please log in to upload a file.




There are no updates yet.
Click the Upload button above to add an update.

You must be logged in to translate posts. Please log in or register.