House Church Members Accused of “Illegal Border Crossing”
07/29/2021 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on July 28, five Christians from a house church in Taiyuan, Shanxi Province were arrested and detained for attending a Christian conference in Malaysia last year.
According to Preacher An Yankui from Xuncheng Reformed Church, one of their church members in Fenyang city named Zhang Ligong was detained on July 13 for his faith. After serving his 15-day administrative detention, he was released yesterday from the detention center. Two other church co-workers went to pick him up and were arrested on the spot.
In the meantime, the police arrested three other co-workers from their homes. The five of them all flew to Malaysia last year to attend the “KL2020 Gospel and Culture” Christian conference hosted by the prominent Chinese Indonesian pastor Stephen Tong.
From January 28 to 31, they heard from influential speakers such as Pastor Tim Keller and Pastor D.A. Carson, along with thousands of other participants. Yet, although they legally departed and returned to China with their passports, they are now being hit with trumped-up charges.
Preacher An Yankui sent out an urgent prayer request through Facebook yesterday, asking brothers and sisters to pay attention and pray for these arrested individuals. “May God never forsake His children and continue to grant mercy to His church on the path carrying the cross,” he stated.
At the time of writing, none of the family members have received a detention notice from the police. It is unclear how long they will be detained for.
Xuncheng Church has been heavily targeted in recent months, including constant harassment and the detention of a preacher and several members last November. One of the members, Zhao Weikai, was arrested on May 17. While he was initially accused of “committing religious fraud” and later released after 15 days of administrative detention, he was again arrested on July 7 and criminally detained for “allegedly possessing items that promote terrorism and extremism.” He can face up to three years of imprisonment.
Gina Goh, ICC’s Regional Manager for Southeast Asia, said, “Since the Revised Regulations on Religious Affairs took effect in February 2018, the Chinese government has added more laws seeking to curb religious activities that are not state-sanctioned. Beijing is paranoid about Chinese Christians’ interaction with Christians overseas. As a result, they are penalizing Christians to deter them from ‘receiving foreign influence.’ It is a shame that the Chinese government constantly manipulates laws to violate the religious freedom of its citizens.”
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