[JURIST] The Hangzhou Christian Council on Friday announced that a prominent Chinese Pastor is under investigation for corruption involving the embezzlement of state funds. The pastor, Gu Yuese, is the leader of the Chongyi Church of Zhejiang. The Chongyi Church is the largest Protestant church in the Chinese speaking world [Reuters report] with approximately 10,000 followers. There are limited details surrounding the specific allegations against Gu. In recent days, human rights groups have claimed the allegations are a form of political revenge [BBC report] for Gu's public opposition to the Chinese government's policy of forced demolition of crosses displayed on church structures.
The Chinese government has increased the prosecution of domestic corruption increased following the appointment of President Xi Jinping [BBC profile] in 2013. In November a Chinese court jailed a top aide to the country's former security chief [JURIST report] Zhou Yongkang on corruption charges. Li Chongxi was one of the top security advisers before being indicted in April. In October Chinese state media reported that the former head of the country's biggest oil firm was sentenced to 16 years in prison [JURIST report] for corruption. The former chairman of China National Petroleum Corp, Jiang Jiemin, was tried in April for taking bribes and abuse of power. In September prosecutors in China announced that they will be investigating former China Supreme Court justice Xi Xiaoming on corruption charges [JURIST report]. In August a former general in China's People's Liberation Army, Gu Junshan, was sentenced [JURIST report] by a Chinese military court to death with a two year reprieve for corruption charges. Gu Junshan is one of the first to face trial under the president's recent efforts against corruption in the military.