China Protestant pastor arrested after trip to Malaysia to attend religious conference

A Yanuki, a Protestant pastor in China's Shanxi province, was arrested by police. He is accused of illegally crossing a border after a trip to Malaysia where he had gone to attend a Christian conference. However, the pastor had a visa and a valid passport. 

On November 21, the Public Security Bureau of Fenyang City, located in Shanxi Province, arrested Zion Reformed Church pastor An Yankui. He was taken away as a result of the worship service with his collaborator Zhang Chenghao. His electronic devices were also seized.

The two men are currently being held in Fangshan County Prison.

ChinaAid, Christian NGO that promotes the rule of law and religious freedom in China, reports that two days after his arrest, the pastor's family received a message indicating that he is being held for "illegal crossing" of the border

Authorities say the Christian broke the law while crossing the border to attend a religious conference in Malaysia. However, Un Yanuki's family specify that he was traveling with a valid passport and the necessary visa to cross the border.

Last July, five members of the Zion Reformed Church, Zhang Ligong, Wang Runyun, Zhang Yaowen, Wang Shiqiang and Song Shoushan, were also arrested on similar charges. ChinaAid reveals that following the arrests, the families of the detainees have come under pressure from the authorities to join state-controlled religious organizations.

Yao Congyao, the wife of the imprisoned pastor, sent the Christian NGO a prayer request for herself and for her family. She also warns her fellow citizens of the risks incurred when traveling abroad.

“I send this request to you in the hope that we will be lifted by your prayers and that family members for whom we are concerned can be comforted. Above all, I would like to warn that you must exercise caution if you are traveling abroad so as not to be accused of illegally crossing the national border. "

Camille Westphal Perrier

Image credit: ChinaAid

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