For background on Orthodox Christianity in China, see here.
For previous ChristianPersecution.com coverage of the persecution of Christians in China, see here.
“Qingcaodi Church: Wives Raise Concerns for Imprisoned Husbands,” by Yu Bing, China Aid, January 11, 2023:
(Deyang, Sichuan Province, China—January 11, 2023) Cui Yanqin and Yang Yufeng, the wives of elders Wu Jiannan and Hao Ming respectively, posted on social media concerning their husbands. Wu Jiannan and Hao Ming served as elders of Qingcaodi Church in Deyang.
ELDER WU JIANNAN
In her open letter, Cui Yanqin explained that she is a stay home mom taking care of two kids. Around 2017, Cui Yanqin joined Wu Jiannan to move hundreds of miles from Anhui province to Deyang city. Before, she was a teacher in the countryside. Even though Deyang was a small city, they liked it and found the locals to be kind. Cui Yanqin wrote that she and Wu cooperated with all kinds of projects in the neighborhood, which can be verified by the Hualian Neighborhood.
AN UNLIKELY SUSPECT
Deyang police arrested Wu Jiannan for “fraud” on November 17, 2021, which surprised Cui. The only reason they arrested him was apparent to her: he practiced the Christian faith. Cui Yanqin wrote:
We have faith and didn’t register at the so-called religious authorities, so we are illegitimate. We are a house church, the country allows house churches to exist, so I can’t understand how we are illegal and how my husband even committed fraud. People attending our church voluntarily give offerings per the teachings of the Bible. The amount of each offering is up to each person, nobody forces them, and the church often visits people who have special needs to help them. The church visited people who were sick, and other things, which all can be verified.
My husband was paid for the basic living expense per the rules in the Bible, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. What he was paid is minimum wage. I would like to ask what you eat and drink if you work but are not paid. What does your family eat and drink? Would you all just live on air? In addition, my husband’s salary is the church’s decision with all congregants’ consent. We never took a penny of anyone except what he deserves. If this is considered fraud, I would like to ask if all the people who get paid, even you, are frauds? Have you defrauded the state?
Authorities detained Wu Jiannan at Deyang Detention Center over a year ago. Every day since his two children asked their mom when he could come home. She found herself asking the same question. With the Chinese New Year around the corner, Cui and her two kids will be lonely in a city that is both familiar and strange to them, while other families will celebrate the holiday together. She questioned:
Can you understand the bitterness in my heart? I don’t know how to preach to you all, but I know my husband never defrauds anyone nor breaks any laws. Now, we are not even allowed to write to him, the personnel of the detention center told us explicitly that we shouldn’t write to him, and he could never receive letters even if we wrote.
Dear Leaders of Deyang City, none of the people attending our church identifies as a victim of fraud, so how could he commit fraud if there are no victims? Even if it is a fraud you made up, why are we banned from writing to him? Just because of the charge? And we were even explicitly told that we are prohibited from writing to him and that letters could never reach him even though we write. What is the logic behind it? I have difficulty understanding. When will you return my husband to me? My kids and I really need him!…
ELDER HAO MING
On January 6, 2023, Yang Yufeng, the wife of Elder Hao Ming of Grassland Church, also sent out a prayer request, giving people an update about her husband, Hao Ming. Hao Ming was the elder Qingcaodi Church until January 2021. Authorities arrested him on the same day as Elder Wu Jiannan on the same charge. Hao’s case has been transferred to the People’s Court and is in the phase of prosecution.
INVOLVEMENT WITH QINGCAODI
Yang Yufeng said that Hao Ming worked without a salary during his tenure at Qingcaodi, starting in 2008. Hao often said to her, “We all have social wages, which is God’s provision for us.” Their family faithfully practiced giving tithe and offerings since they were converted to Christianity. Hao Ming converted his younger sister and mother to Christianity, and they both became members of Qingcaodi. Yang Yufeng asked in reply, “Would he defraud his sister and mother? So ridiculous.”…