The detained pastors and laymen legally went to Kuala Lumpur to attend an event organized by well-known evangelist Tang Chongrong.
by Yuan Changpu
Tang Chongrong is a well-known Chinese overseas evangelist and missionary, and the founder of the Tang Chongrong International Mission. Tens of thousands have attended his rallies and seminars, and more have read his books.
Tang is popular in China too, and Christians go abroad (or to Hong Kong, where he used to preach before the recent limitations were introduced) to participate in his evangelistic events.
Some from Shanxi house churches attended Tang’s large “2020 Evangelism and Culture Conference” in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. They went there with their regular passports, and did not breach any law.
However, Christians who went to hear Pastor Tang in Malaysia and brought back his books are now being arrested for “illegally crossing the border” and “smuggling illegal literature” into China.
On July 28, 2021, five men from Fenyang, Shanxi, called Zhang Ligong, Zhang Yaowen, Wang Runyun, Wang Shiqiang, and Song Shoushan, who had attended the Kuala Lumpur conference were detained on these charges. On November 21 and 22, 2021, An Yankui and Zhang Chenghao were detained by the Luliang County Public Security Bureau in Fenyang, Shanxi Province, with the same accusations. They are members of the Shanxi Hui Cheng Reformed Church.
On December 28, 2021, An Yankui’s and Zhang Chenghao’s arrest was formalized, and the other five defendants were arraigned in Fenyang.