Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – State security agents arrested a prominent member of the unofficial Chinese Protestant church as part of a renewed crackdown on religious activities outside Communist Party control, an overseas activist group reported on Friday.
Cai Zhuohua, minister to six unofficial congregations, was bundled into a van by three plainclothes agents while waiting at a bus stop in Beijing two months ago, said the China Aid Association, which is based in Texas.
The association said Cai’s case drew special attention from authorities after the discovery of 200,000 Bibles and other Christian literature in a warehouse under his control, the origins of which were unknown. The official church is the only authorised publisher of Bibles in China, which are produced in strictly controlled numbers and forbidden to be sold in ordinary bookstores.
Authorities were also upset over Cai’s involvement with an overseas-based Chinese-language website, www.aiyan.com, that carries articles about the underground church and Christianity in China, the association said. Chinese officials routinely denounce overseas involvement with the unofficial church as a tool to overthrow the communist state.
Cai’s wife, Xiao Yunfei, was arrested on September 27 along with her brother, Xiao Gaowen, and sister-in-law, Hu Jinyun, after the three went into hiding in the central province of Hunan, the report said. Cai and the others were being held at the Qinghe detention centre in Beijing’s Haidian district.