The church after the cross was removed.
Chinese Communist Party authorities recently sentenced a Henan house church pastor to five and a half years in prison after he refused to let officials place patriotic slogans in his church. Pastor Li Juncai also received a fine of more than $7,000 USD.
Pastor Li’s church, the Yuanyang County Central House Church, was established as a government-approved Three-Self church, but in 2013 gave up that status and merged with a local house church. Typically, 700-800 people attended services there weekly, and it was the largest house church in the area. When the government began oppressing house churches in 2018, they required the Yuanyang Country Central House Church to change a sign reading “Love God and People” to “Love Country.” They also told the church they must remove the cross on their steeple. The church refused to comply, and on Feb. 20, 2019, Pastor Li was arrested along with three others for obstructing government administration. The others were released, but Pastor Li remained in detention. In January 2021, officials finally handed down the five-and-a-half year sentence to Pastor Li. After the pastor’s arrest, the cross atop the church was forcibly removed, and the Christian sign was forcibly replaced.