Former Senior Pastor of China’s First Mega-church Allegedly Acquitted on Christmas Eve
By Ruth Wang, December 27, 2017 09:12 AM
On December 24, 2017, Chinese Christians shared on WeChat, a popular social media in China, that Gu Yuese (Or Joseph Gu), former senior pastor of China's first mega-church, returned home. His photo of making a call at home was attached.
His wife, Zhou Meilian, played a piano piece called "Silent Night" as a response to the Christmas greetings from Christians and his friends to him.
Gu Yuese was the former president of Zhejiang CCC and senior pastor of Chongyi Church, the largest Protestant church in China.
The word was that he was acquitted on the noon of the Christmas Eve and the local procuratorate dropped the charges.
He was under criminal detention for the "embezzlement of church funds" for over two months since January 27, 2016. He was released from detention on bail on March 31.
About nine months later, he was arrested by the public security bureau of Hangzhou on the same charges. The arrest document for approval
"In order to promote self-construction of CCCTSPM of Hangzhou City, and the church gathering place management," the earliest official statement released on Jan. 18t, 2016, stated "the CCC&TSPM of Hangzhou City determines to conduct the following personnel changes: Rev.Gu Yuese, Chairman of CCC of Zhejiang province no longer serve as senior pastor of Chongyi Church."
Chongyi Church, located in downtown of Hangzhou city, is one of the largest churches in Hangzhou area. The church has a new hall, rebuilt in 2003 and completed two years later. It can accommodate 5500 people, by far the world's largest Chinese church. Investment of 42 million yuan, the new church funds were all from believers.
On January 18, 2017, CCC of Hangzhou Christian states that Rev Gu Yuese( Joseph) will no longer serve as the senior pastor in Christian association of Zhejiang province, replaced by Rev.Zhang Zhongcheng, the vice chairman. The announcement stated that the personnel changes were decided according to the requirements of the provincial and municipal departments.
After the crosses of churches in the Chinese province of Zhejiang were taken down in 2014 and 2015, the same thing happened to a campus of Chongyi Church. Gu, who was the president of the Zhejiang CCC then, made a public appeal to halt the forced removal.
- Translated by Karen Luo
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