A few months ago, we shared the story of how Christians in “China’s Jerusalem,” Hangzhou in Zhejiang province, opposed the government’s sanction to tear down churches by placing a series of crosses at their homes, businesses, and churches. One particular pastor, Gu Yuese, who leads the largest government approved Protestant church in China, was arrested along with his wife for protesting the government’s removal of the 1,500 crosses and refusing to step down as pastor.
Morgan Lee with Christianity Today wrote, “In addition to his responsibilities at the Communist nation’s first megachurch—the 10,000-member Chongyi Church—Gu also held a leadership role in China’s state-approved denomination, the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM).”
Lee added, “In January, the TSPM and China Christian Council forcibly removed Gu from Chongyi Church, saying the change was necessary to ‘move one step closer towards the proper self-construction and management of church locations … and sort out the interpersonal relationship between the province and the two municipal [Christian] organizations.’”
Bob Fu the president of China aid said, “This is really quite an escalation. It sends a signal to silence any potential future dissenting voices from within the church. It tells everyone to shut up.”
Fu added, “His arrest marks a major escalation in the crackdown against those who oppose the forced demolition of crosses. He will be the highest-ranking national church leader arrested since the Cultural Revolution.”
In a statement, the couple asked their “former congregation to pray for them, hinting at conflict at the church.” The couple stated, “Chongyi Church is also experiencing unprecedented, chilling trials. Everyone must equally rely on the Lord’s grace to confront [this hardship] and triumph over it.