China Forces Underground Pastor from Beijing-Paper

China continues its suppression of dissenters before the Olympic Games, today targeting a Christian pastor and his wife. From the U.K. Guardian:

Chinese police have removed a prominent Beijing-based pastor and his wife from the capital as it steps up efforts to control dissidents in the run-up to the Olympics, the South China Morning Post reported on Sunday.

Zhang Mingxuan, president of the Chinese House Church Alliance, told the Hong Kong newspaper he and his ailing wife, Xie Fenglan, had been whisked off to neighbouring Hebei province on Friday night after a week of harassment.

Police told the church figure, who has often met foreign officials visiting China, that they do not want him in Beijing during next month’s Olympics to prevent him from meeting foreigners, the article quoted Zhang as saying.

Pastor Zhang Mingxuan has been very vocal in the past about government repression of Christianity, writing letters and meeting with foreign government officials. See background information from the Christian Newswire on Pastor Mingxuan’s most recent arrest:

China Aid has learned that pastor Zhang Mingxuan was detained at 12:08pm on June 18 (2008) along with his interpreter when he was on his way to meet with a seninor EU official.. . . Zhang was detained on a bus while he and his interpreter were on their way to meet with Dr. Bastiaan Belder, Rapporteur of the EP Committee of Foreign Affairs for the relationship between the EU and China, at Yanshan Hotel in Haidian District.

. . . Since his conversion to Christianity in 1986, Pastor Zhang has been arrested, beaten and incarcerated 12 times. Most recently, PSB and State officials forced Zhang to close the orphanage he had been running with his two sons.

Ironically, even as China tries to silence Pastor Mingxuan, officials are still planning on giving away Bibles during the Olympics. See CDT’s coverage here.

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