(Beijing – April 23, 2011) Two house church pastors on their way to visit churches for Easter were apprehended Saturday as they were driving on a highway outside Beijing. One pastor is under informal house arrest with his wife at a nearby hotel while the other pastor was escorted back to Beijing, ChinaAid has learned.
Pastor Zhang Mingxuan, also known as Pastor Bike, and his wife are currently being held in a hotel in Shijiazhuang, Hebei province, about 170 miles south of Beijing.
They and Beijing Pastor Liu Fenggang were on their way from Beijing to visit churches in Chengde, Hebei province, when they were stopped at an exit of the Chengede Expressway by local police at 3:10 p.m. and taken to the Chengde police station. They were held there for more than four hours before Pastor Zhang and his wife were driven by special vehicle to Shijiazhuang and Pastor Liu was ordered to drive the car, under escort, back to Beijing.
“We don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Please tell the whole world to pray for China, that the Lord may change China, bless China, save China,” one of the pastors reportedly wrote in a text message.
Pastor Zhang, a passionate evangelist known for riding his bike across the country on missions of encouragement, has been detained, arrested, and interrogated numerous times over the past 10 years in his efforts to strengthen house church Christians. He is the chairman of the Chinese House Church Alliance. In 2008, he and his family were evicted from their homes in Beijing and barred from the capital after meeting with U.S. officials in the run-up to the 2008 Olympic Games. Chinese authorities said he was “destroying the harmony of the Beijing Olympic Games” by meeting with the Americans. He has returned to his home province of Henan to live.
Rachel Sparkman, Media Coordinator
Tel: (888) 889-7757, or Rachel@ChinaAid.org
Mark Shan, CAA Spokesperson
Tel: (267) 205-5210, or Mark@ChinaAid.org
Website: www.ChinaAid.org and www.MonitorChina.org