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BosNewsLife – Chinese police have detained an evangelist of the country’s rapidly growing ‘underground’ house church movement and his father, who is a pastor, human rights investigators said Wednesday, October 5. China Aid Association (CAA), a US-based religious rights group, claimed evangelist Ma Shulei was arrested in China ‘s Henan province along with his 58-year-old father, Ma Yinzhou, who is a house church pastor.

The troubles apparently began September 28 in Sanmenxia City of the province’s Mianchi County region, where the evangelist returned home from Yunnan , another province, to visit his father.

“Someone immediately reported [his arrival] to the police. When the police [came], Mr. Ma Shulei was not at home [but] the police arrested his father Pastor Ma Yinzhou, and forced him to reveal his son’s whereabouts,” CAA said. “To save his father, Mr. Ma Shulei turned himself in October 2, however his father was not released and both are now in police custody.”

The arrests were the latest in a series of incidents against the two Christians, the group said. In 2002, Ma Shulei and his father were detained in Beijing for more than 40 days after a church leader’s meeting was raided by police, CAA claimed.

“Later they were put on probation and ordered to report to the police every five days. Instead of following the probation order, Mr. Ma Shulei went into Yunnan Province as a house church missionary and graduated from a Chinese seminary,” the organization added in a statement to BosNewsLife.

CAA President Bob Fu, who was himself reportedly persecuted for his Christian faith in China before fleeing to the United States , said his organization has urged “the Chinese government to immediately release Pastor Ma and his son. To hold the father in order to arrest the son is certainly a very harsh tactic to use against two innocent individuals.” China ‘s government has denied human rights abuses and says it only is fighting against “religious sects” deemed dangerous to society.

Church watchers link China’s reported crackdown on house churches to concern among Communist authorities over the increasing number of Christians attending unofficial churches, also known as ‘house churches’ as they do not receive permissions to operate…[Go To Full Story]