Some Texas-based advocates for persecuted religious groups fear Lu Siwei — a Chinese human rights lawyer arrested in Laos last week —could be deported to China, where he likely would be imprisoned.
Laotian police reportedly seized Lu on July 28 when he was boarding a train bound for Thailand, where he planned to catch a flight to the United States to join his wife and daughter in Los Angeles.
His wife, Zhang Chunxiao, issued a video appeal on social media saying her husband faced “imminent deportation to Communist China by the Laotian government.”
“My husband Lu Siwei will certainly be subjected to torture and prison if he is forcibly returned to China,” she continued.
Bob Fu, founder of the Midland-based ChinaAid religious freedom organization, told the Associated Press Lu’s family contacted him to seek his help. Lu was under surveillance but was not being investigated or charged with any crime, and he had valid visas for the United States and Laos, Fu said.
“This clearly shows the long arm of China beyond its borders to control and arrest those traveling overseas,” Fu told AP. “It’s very chilling.”
Deana Brown, founding CEO of Tyler-based Freedom Seekers International, urged Texas Baptists and other Christians to pray for Lu.
Earlier this year, Brown was in Thailand visiting members of the Shenzhen Holy Reformed Church — a congregation nicknamed the “Mayflower Church” because they fled China in pursuit of religious freedom — when they faced a deportation hearing. Brown and an associate subsequently were detained alongside members of the Mayflower Church.
‘One life is worth our efforts’
Following extensive behind-the-scenes work by the U.S. Department of State, the international community and several Christian human rights organizations — and a call to prayer among Christians in the United States — members of the Mayflower Church were released and allowed to resettle in East Texas.
Members of the Mayflower Church arrived at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport on Friday evening, April 7. Randel Everett, founding president of the 21Wilberforce human rights organization, called it “a Good Friday miracle.”
Brown — a former Southern Baptist missionary — agreed. The prayers of concerned Christians brought about the release of the Mayflower Church and their safe resettlement in the United States, she insisted.
“Here is one more family that needs our prayer support,” Brown said of Lu and his family. “One life is worth our efforts.”