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China says pastor embezzled funds

Charges levied against outspoken critic of Zhejiang cross removals
China says pastor embezzled funds
Published: February 01, 2016 10:38 AM GMT
Updated: February 01, 2016 10:42 AM GMT

One of China's leading Christian ministers, the Rev. Gu Yuese, is being investigated for suspicion of embezzling funds, state-backed church authorities in Zhejiang province said, a move that comes after the pastor opposed a campaign to remove crosses from atop churches.

"We feel deeply shocked and filled with regret," the government-backed Hangzhou Christian Council said in a statement on its website regarding Gu, adding that the investigation was due to his individual conduct, Channel NewsAsia reported.

The council gave no further details of the charges or evidence against Gu in its post late Jan. 29.

It said it had been notified by a "relevant department," but did not say who was conducting the investigation. Police in Hangzhou did not immediately respond to calls for comment.

Gu could not be reached for comment.

Zhejiang, on China's eastern coast, is known for its large Christian population. Previous campaigns by authorities there to dismantle crosses on top of churches have incensed the local religious population.

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