A Protestant house church pastor in China was sentenced to eight years after being charged with “fraud”, with regards to the handling of her church’s offerings.
Echeng District Court in Ezhou, Hubei Province sentenced Hao Zhiwei, a 51-year-old female pastor of a house church after being charged with “fraud” in the first trial on February 11, according to Union of Catholic Asian News.
Refusing to join the state-run Three-Self Patriotic Movement of the Protestant churches in China, Hao was charged with “preaching the gospel without authorization and fraud for collecting church offerings”.
Having graduated from Zhong Nan Theological Seminary in 2001, she was a former preacher at Egangqiao Church. Not approving the administration of the local religious affairs bureau over the official church, she applied for the certificate of a pastor but failed. The TSPM church was banned but continued to exist in the form of a house church. She pastored the congregation for 18 years. Based on house church traditions, she was ordained as a pastor by three pastors invited by the church.
She had been arrested by the local authorities since July 31, 2019.