■ Bangkok – Chinese authorities have detained the highest-ranking pastor of Chongyi Church, China’s largest official church since the Cultural Revolution, for protesting publicly against the forced removal of church crosses in the country, according to a statement by Christian NGO China Aid.
Gu Yuese, also known as Joseph Gu, was placed under “residential surveillance in a designated location” – commonly known as ‘black jails’ – last Thursday, according to the U.S.-based Christian rights group China Aid.
“His arrest marks a major escalation in the crackdown against those who oppose the forced demolition of crosses,” says president and founder of China Aid Bob Fu in a statement. “He will be the highest-ranking national church leader arrested since the Cultural Revolution.”
The arrests happened 10 days after authorities in the eastern province of Zhejiang forcefully removed the pastor from his position, supposedly for speaking out against the government’s ongoing crackdown against Christians in the country since early 2014.
China Aid has exposed Chinese government violations of religious freedom, such as experienced by Gu.
Since the pastor’s arrest last Thursday, the organization has reported that six church crosses have also been forcibly demolished.