A pastor was recently arrested by Chinese authorities on charges of illegally crossing the national border nearly two years ago.
According to China Aid, Fenyang Municipal Bureau of Public Security in Shanxi Province in northern China detained An Yankui, a minister of Zion Reformed Church, on Nov. 21 following a Sunday worship service. Fellow church member, Zhang Chenghao, was also arrested.
An Yankui's wife, Yao Congyao, said uniformed and plain-clothed public security agents entered their home and escorted her husband out. Besides arresting An, police also confiscated some books and all their electronic devices.
For over 24 hours, family members frantically searched for their whereabouts and made phone calls. Yao finally received a detention notice last Wednesday with the reason for An's arrest.
"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," the notice reads.
The arrest of An Yankui and Zhang Chenghao follows the detainment of five other church members this summer because they attended the "KL2020 Gospel and Culture" conference in Jan. 2020. All of them carried passports of China and entered Malaysia legally.
CBN News previously reported that the group of Christians, along with thousands of other participants, flew to Malaysia to hear from prominent speakers such as Pastor Tim Keller and Pastor D.A. Carson.
On multiple occasions, family members of the arrested Christians were asked to join the state-controlled Three-Self Churches but they turned down the request.
Yao made an urgent prayer request to members of Zion Reformed Church to pray for An's release.
"I sent out the prayer request in the hope that you all can lift us up and comfort the family members, we are concerned about. Most of all, I want to give a warning to each person that you should use caution if you travel abroad so as not to be charged with illegally crossing the national border," Yao reportedly said.
CBN News has reported extensively on the Chinese government's relentless pursuit to eliminate the faith community by taking steps toward removing religious materials from the hands of Christians.
The Chinese Communist Party has even gone as far as trying to indoctrinate children as young as three to believing that Christianity is an illegal religion.
Chinese President Xi Jinping introduced "Sinicization" in 2015 with plans to "make religious groups within China submit to socialism and the CCP's ideology by assimilating them into a unified identity with Chinese characteristics."
China is ranked 17th on Open Doors' 2021 World Watch List where Christians suffer the most persecution.
Please continue to pray for the persecuted Christians throughout China.