The wife of a house church pastor in China posted a defense of her husband, who has been imprisoned for more than a year, on Chinese social media last month. Within hours, the post was blocked, police had descended on her home, and she and her parents-in-law were receiving threatening phone calls from authorities demanding that the post be withdrawn.

According to Voice of the Martyrs Korea Representative Dr. Hyun Sook Foley, Chen Ying, the wife of Linfen Covenant House Church pastor Han Xiaodong, posted the statement on Chinese social media giant Weibo on March 9, entitled, “Representatives of the National People’s Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC): please Pay Attention to the Case of Religious Persecution Against Li Jie, Han Xiaodong, and Wang Qiang in Linfen, Shanxi Province”.  

“Chen Ying posted the statement, but it was co-signed by the wives of Li Jie and Wang Qiang and was written in defense of all three of their husbands,” says Representative Foley. She says the social media post was addressed to a host of public officials and agencies including China’s National People’s Congress, the Supreme People’s Court, the Chinese government website, and several local news outlets and law enforcement agencies.  

According to Representative Foley, Chen Ying posted the statement at 7:54 a.m. Beijing time, but the post was blocked within hours. “Around 11:45 a.m., seven police officers from the Yaodu District Police Station arrived at her home, threatening that they would come to her home every day until she deleted the post,” says Representative Foley. “She explained that the post had already been blocked and she didn’t know what else to delete. But two hours later the lead police officer called her on the phone with the same demand. Chen Ying sent out an urgent prayer letter to her network, expressing her confusion about how to handle the situation and asking for prayers for her three children, who were afraid.” 

Representative Foley says that Chen Ying’s parents-in-law called her that afternoon. “They had also been threatened by the police, and they were urging her to delete the post,” says Representative Foley. “So she sent out a second letter to her network asking for prayer.”  

Representative Foley notes that all three families have suffered before and during their husbands’ detentions. “Police shut off the power, water, and electricity at Preacher Li Jie’s home and forced the eviction of he, his wife Li Shanshan, and their family during the coldest day of winter,” says Representative Foley. “Wen Huijuan, Wang Qiang’s wife, was pregnant with her second baby during this time and faced a lot of stress. By the grace of God, the baby was born healthy.”  

Pastor Han Xiaodong (back left), his wife Chen Ying (back right), and their family

Representative Foley says she believes that police are likely pressuring Chen Ying specifically because she was the one who posted the letter on Weibo. But Representative Foley thinks that Chen Ying is strong enough to endure the pressure, due in part to her prayer network but also due to the Christian discipleship commitment evident in her relationship with her husband. “Chen Ying wrote a touching letter to her husband, Pastor Han Xiaodong, in prison last January, saying, ‘Honey, you always reminded me that people should not put the lamp under a basket. I didn’t get it before, but people living near us all care about us and are curious about us after the incident so that we can share our stories and God’s story with them.’” 

Linfen Covenant House Church is an unregistered house church in Shanxi Province. According to Representative Foley, the church has faced persecution from authorities because they refused to join China’s state-sanctioned “Three-Self” Protestant churchMinisters of the church signed “A Joint Statement by Pastors: A Declaration for the Sake of the Christian Faith” initiated by the pastor of Chengdu Early Rain Covenant Church, Wang Yi, who in December 2019 was given a prison sentence of 9 years for “inciting subversion of state power and illegal business operations.” “The Linfen Covenant house church pastors were interrogated by police multiple times, and the church was forced to move,” says Representative Foley. “The church’s school was also raided multiple times. Then on August 19, 2022, during an outdoor family event organized by the church, over a hundred police officers raided the venue. Li Jie, Han Xiaodong, and Wang Qiang were then detained on suspicion of ‘fraud’, a detention that has now lasted over one and a half years. The authorities’ claim of ‘fraud’ arises from the idea that because the church is unregistered, it is not legally able to take an offering. To this day, there has been no trial, and the judges have repeatedly avoided communication with the lawyers. 

Pastor Han Xiaodong, one of the accused leaders of Linfen Covenant House Church

In the March statement posted on social media by Chen Ying and signed by the other two pastors’ wives, the women called for attention to the religious persecution cases against their husbands and urged all levels of courts to reject religious persecution cases that violate human rights and disregard facts. They urged the Linfen People’s Court to hold open and timely trials and send representatives to observe the trial. They also demanded supervision of local judicial authorities to ensure fairness and transparency in judicial proceedings and to set bail for their husbands. The wives state in part:  

 “Such unscrupulous arrests of Christians not only create meaningless false and unjust cases but also fail to demonstrate any righteousness or goodness. This is persecution against Christians carried out in the name of the rule of law. It undoubtedly violates the principle of governing the country according to law and seriously harms the religious sentiments of the people. We firmly believe that our husbands are innocent.” 

Individuals interested in learning about or supporting Voice of the Martyrs Korea’s work in partnership with persecuted Christians in China can visit or give via electronic transfer to: 


KB Bank: 463501-01-243303 

Account Holder: ()순교자의소리 

Please note “China” on the transfer. 

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