Beijing church leader under house arrest ahead of China-Africa forum

Holy Love Fellowship elder Xu Yonghai
studies the Bible in his home. Xu has been
placed under house arrest ahead of a China-
Africa forum that will take place Sept. 3-4,
2018. (Photo: ChinaAid)

(Beijing—Aug. 29, 2018) A prominent elder at Holy Love Fellowship, a house church in Beijing, was placed under house arrest on Monday, with authorities citing an upcoming international forum as the reason for his confinement.

Having previously been sentenced to two years in prison for protecting Christians’ religious freedom, the elder, Xu Yonghai is no stranger to persecution. Since his release, he has been under constant surveillance. On Aug. 27, he penned an open letter, stating, “I became a sensitive person because I am a Christian, because I proclaim the Gospel, and because I safeguard Christians’ freedom of religion. I am always placed under house arrest and not allowed to get out of my place on every sensitive date. Police even follow me if I go out to buy food.”

Xu also said that if he heads out, the person in charge of monitoring his area will notify police officer Li Kai.

The same day, police put him under house arrest ahead of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, a summit between China and nearly all countries in Africa that will be held Sept. 3-4. Several other Beijing Christians have been confined to their homes as well, including Hu Jia, Gao Hongming, He Depu, and Qi Zhiyong. Qi, who was disabled during the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre, must be escorted by police if he goes to a doctor’s appointment.

The reasoning for authorities doubling down on their efforts to suppress Christian leaders ahead of the forum is unclear, and it is unknown if they will be released following the forum’s conclusion.

ChinaAid exposes abuses, such as those experienced by church leaders in Beijing, in order to stand in solidarity with the persecuted and promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law.

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