WENZHOU, Zhejiang, China (WordNews.org) Feb. 2, 2018 – Fourteen Christian leaders of Chinese house churches have vanished in China’s coastal Zhejiang province in what ChinaAid is calling “the latest in a saga of China’s serial persecution” of Christians.
The underground church leaders are believed to be in police custody since Jan. 13.
The Christians are part of the church movement’s Middle Eastern evangelism network. They are believed to be in the custody of Chinese state security agents, however their location undisclosed.
“This massive, enforced disappearance of 14 peaceful church leaders shows the Communist Party has no regard to rule of law and its citizens’ religious freedom rights,” said ChinaAid President Bob Fu. “The Chinese government should be absolutely held accountable for this incident and immediately disclose the whereabouts to the families and their churches.”
Fu said the government has not yet announced the church leaders’ charges. He added that Chinese officials have a history of persecuting Christians based solely on their faith and denying them the religious freedom and basic human rights outlined in both the Chinese Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, of which China is a signatory.
Zhejiang’s Christians have faced harsh persecution and discrimination in the past few years, as the province has been the focal point of a cross demolition movement and a follow-up surveillance camera installation movement.
ChinaAid is urging international leaders to speak out “against this blatant abuse of religious freedom and human rights and call on China to immediately” and request the unconditional release “of these innocent Christians.”
“We also invite those living in the free world to share this story,” Fu said, “and help us further our mission to expose China’s abuses and stand in solidarity with persecuted Christians, promoting human rights, religious freedom, and rule of law.”