Chinese Authorities Arrest Pastor, Member for Attending Christian Conference

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A preacher and his member at a house church in Shanxi Province have been arrested by the Chinese police. According to China Aid, the preacher, An Yankui and his member, Zhang Chenghao, who are members of Zion Reformed Church in Tiyuan City, were arrested last Sunday for attending a Christian conference last year in Malaysia where Pastors D.A. Carson and Tim Keller spoke.

After their arrest, their family members were not informed until a day later. The notice of the pastor’s arrest was sent to his wife, Yao Congya. The letter from the Shanxi Province Fenyang Municipal Bureau of Public Security, read: “Per the Criminal Procedure Law of the People’s Republic of China Article 82, on November 22, 2021, our bureau criminally detained An Yankui who was suspected of illegally crossing the national border, and he is detained at Fangshan County Detention Center at present.”

International Christian Concern (ICC) reported in July that five other Christians from the same church were arrested for participating in the “KL2020 Gospel and Culture” conference hosted by Chinese-Indonesian Pastor Stephen Tong in Kuala Lumpur.

The reason for their arrest was that they had illegally crossed the national border and the case was not followed up by the authorities because they entered legally. Moreover, they had the official passports of the People’s Republic of China.

China Aid believes An Yankui’s arrest may be connected to his association with Pastor Wang Yi and the Early Rain Covenant Church which have been facing serious persecution for a while now.

ICC’s Regional Manager for Southeast Asia, Gina Goh, had said: “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.” 

According to Open Doors USA, China ranks among the top countries in the world where Christians face difficulty practicing their faith. There are about 60 million Christians in China and a large number of this population worship in places China regard as unregistered and illegal. Most of these churches are underground.

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