The exact whereabouts of human rights lawyer Lu Siwei, who was arrested in Laos in July, appear uncertain.
In mid-September, the Associated Press reported Lu’s attorney said he had been deported to China, along with two busloads of other Chinese citizens.
However, in a Sept. 23 email to the Baptist Standard, Bob Fu, executive director of Midland-based ChinaAid described Lu’s situation as “very fluid.”
“On the one hand his lawyer claimed the Lao Ministry of Public Security told her Lu was deported back to China,” he wrote. “But the Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs kept telling diplomats he was still held in Laos.
“We are still trying to figure out what’s going on. This early morning, I learned he was transferred to the Chinese security agents from the Lao prison. … We certainly need prayers for mercy upon him.”
In July, Laotian police took Lu into custody when he was boarding a train bound for Thailand, where he planned to catch a flight to join his wife and daughter in the United States. Lu was accused of illegal border crossing, even though he possessed a Chinese passport, a Laotian visa and a U.S. visa.
Last month, 68 human rights and civil liberties groups issued a joint statement protesting the arrest of Lu, who was stripped of his license to practice law in China two years ago when he defended a pro-democracy activist who tried to flee to Taiwan.
Tyler-based Freedom Seekers International posted on social media: “The situation seems hopeless, but we ask you to join us in praying for a miracle. Pray that he survives this difficult situation and is released to be reunited with his family.”
In a text message to the Baptist Standard in early August, Lu’s wife Zhang Chunxiao expressed appreciation for the prayers Texas Baptists and other Christians offered on behalf of her husband and her family.
“My husband and I are not Christians, but there were many Christians who helped us tremendously during this crisis and made us feel God’s strength,” she wrote. “This strength is the main reason why I have been able to persevere until today.”
She asked concerned Christians to “continue to pray for my husband until he comes to America safely.”
Freedom Seekers International CEO Deana Brown, a former Southern Baptist missionary, traveled to Laos in August to participate in a silent demonstration outside the detention center and pray for Lu’s release.
Brown remained in close contact with Lu’s wife, who sent her this message after her husband’s deportation: “I haven’t been baptized yet, and neither has my husband, but we are both on the journey to the Lord. … I pray every day and ask for the Lord’s grace.”
After expressing thanks for all who had been praying for her husband, she concluded: “I hope he can turn the danger into safety, survive this disaster, and be reunited with us. He and I are willing to spend the rest of our lives serving the Lord, dedicating ourselves, and helping those in need.”