BEIJING: A Chinese man and wife who led a Christian congregation that opposed a government campaign to remove crosses atop churches have been given long prison sentences for illegal activities, including corruption and disturbing social order, state media said. A court in eastern Zhejiang province on Friday sentenced pastor Bao Guohua to 14 years in prison and his wife, Xing Wenxiang, to 12 years after concluding that they had illegally organised churchgoers to petition the government and disturb social order, according to the state-run Zhejiang Daily newspaper. The couple also was accused of “tricking” members of its congregation into donating $336,000 that was spent on cars and other personal purchases while pretending to lead an ascetic lifestyle, the newspaper said. The court sentenced 10 other church members to prison, the report said, without giving details. Zhejiang’s religious leaders, many of whom lead churches sanctioned by the government, say the attitudes of local authorities have turned sharply negative in recent years as the Christian population grew in number and influence. Several well-known figures who have resisted the government campaign to remove crosses through legal challenges or public denunciations have been targeted with criminal prosecutions.
Pastor, wife jailed
Published: 09:05 am Feb 29, 2016