BEIJING, CHINA (Worthy News)– A leader in China’s growing underground church movement who disappeared last month was actually in police custody.
Held on “suspicion of using superstition to undermine national law enforcement,” Shi Enhaoi is one of 150 million Chinese Christians who refuse to join the Communist Party’s Three-Self Patriotic Movement: the only officially sanctioned Protestant church on the mainland.
Three-Self pastors are employed by the government and preach only on topics assigned by Party officials.
As the deputy chairman of the Chinese House Church Alliance, Shi and other Christian leaders have called on the government to halt its ongoing persecution of Beijing’s 1,000-member strong Shouwang House Church.
Bob Fu, head of ChinaAid, said the persecution against Shi is premeditated.
“Against the backdrop of the persecution of one of Beijing’s largest house churches, the Shouwang Church, this criminal detention of Pastor Shi is another sign of the increasing persecution of house churches across China,” he said.
Fu called on police to release Shi and to “stop creating conflicts between church and state.”
Shi first disappeared in June just after he was released from 12 days of administrative detention, but before he could return home, police took him to an undisclosed location. The next day, police raided Shi’s home and removed books and other written materials.