Amidst intense Christian persecution in China, CCP authorities have detained Elder Zhang Chunlei "on suspicion of fraud."

CCP authorities are continuing their crackdown on Christians and churches in China. Chinese authorities have recently arrested Christian Elder Zhang Chunlei, who leads the Ren'ai Reformed Church in Guiyang. He was arrested for suspected fraud on May 1, on the day that China's new administrative measures on religious clergy were put into effect.

According to the Christian Post, the Ren'ai Reformed Church condemned Elder Zhang's arrest as a "serious trampling on the Christian faith." The newsletter from the church declared, "We know that he has been treated so unfairly because of his faith. The so-called charges against him for scamming brothers and sisters are simply unfounded; the 'suspected fraud' is outright absurd!"

Back in March, Elder Zhang was placed under administrative detention for "illegally operating as an association" just hours after Chinese police attacked a Christian retreat at a privately rented property in Guiyang. Five church members were captured and detained, while dozens of family homes were searched. Chinese authorities confiscated computers, phones, and documents, while church members were questioned by the police.

Elder Zhang completed his detention on March 28 but, unlike three other church members who were set free after three days of administrative detention, was held and further charged for fraud. ChinaAid reported that Elder Zhang's wife, Yang Aiqing was handed a "notice of arrest" on May 5 and that her husband was arrested on May 1 for "suspected fraud."

The Ren'ai Reformed Church called upon its church members to continue praying for the church as it "suffers from injustice and experiences this extremely difficult time." The church also warned that they "never authorized any individual to publish any information to the public on behalf of us."

Towards the end of April, Chinese rights lawyer Sui Muqing expressed his concern to the Epoch Times that Chinese officials in the Guiyang in the Guizhou Province were building a case against Elder Zhang. He reported that Elder Zhang's wife, Yang Aiqing was taken by the police to be interrogated and was "detained in handcuffs and shackles for 24 hours before her release."

"[Yang] was given a criminal summons on the charge of fraud but the questions during the [police] interrogation were all about spiritual beliefs and church operations," Sui reported. "There were no questions about fraud at all."

Sui added that Yang was "handcuffed and fettered" and argued that she was "not a dangerous criminal" to be handcuffed and shackled that way. Sui said, "It is an act of police abusing their power."

At the time, Sui said that Chinese authorities were looking to label the Ren'ai Reformed Church as a "fraud group" and its donations as a "fraud project," so that officials would have a "big case" and would be "more likely to receive awards and credits for the crackdown."

The U.N. Commission on the Status of Women founder and President Mervyn Thomas has called upon the immediate release of Elder Zhang, calling his charges "unfounded" and "equally spurious."