Beijing House Church Pastor Denied Pension Amid Ongoing Crackdown on Worship

Photo Credit: TUBS/Wikipedia

(Radio Free Asia) — A prominent pastor of an unofficial Protestant “house church” in Beijing has been denied his state pension, with officials citing a criminal conviction linked to his faith activities, RFA has learned.

House church elder Xu Yonghai, who just turned 60, was turned away by a Beijing municipal government service center after he went there to claim his first pension payments.

Xu, formerly head of the Beijing Sheng’ai Protestant Family Church Fellowship, should have received his first payments this month but instead was denied the money, with officials citing his “criminal record.”

Xu stood trial on charges of “leaking state secrets overseas” in 2004 after he campaigned online on behalf of jailed Chinese Christians, and has repeatedly been placed under shorter-term detention by police in the years since.

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