GOP Rep Demands State Department Rescue Chinese And American Christians Detained In Thailand

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According to a letter obtained from the Daily Caller News Foundation, a Republican congressman has asked the State Department for assistance in behalf of American Christians and Chinese Christians being held by Thai police.

Thai police detained 63 members of Shenzhen Holy Reformed Church (also known as the Mayflower Church) for violating their visas. They were arrested during an early morning raid in Pattaya on Thursday. The DCNF was informed by ChinaAid that they are now planning to deport the Chinese congregants to China. They face possible torture and imprisonment.

In a letter to the DCNF, Lance Gooden, a Texas Republican Rep., stated that the State Department should do “everything in its power” to ensure American Christians and Chinese Christians are not subject to repatriation and, therefore, interrogation or abuse.

Gooden’s letter stated that “The situation is deeply alarming as two Americans are entangled in the crisis, potentially facing unjustified and intolerable penalties.” It is our responsibility to make sure that American citizens’ rights are protected abroad. These threats to liberty and life should not be faced by the Mayflower Church or the Americans.

Thai police raided Mayflower Church early in the morning and arrested Deana Brown (68) and Stacy Nichols (51). They also confiscated their passports. Brown informed DCNF.

Thai police might have discovered the location of Mayflower Church members, after one congregant was forced to cooperate by Chinese police. ChinaAid reported that the DCNF had been informed by ChinaAid.

Freedom Seekers International founder Brown told the DCNF she wanted to help the Mayflower Church relocate in the U.S.

The Mayflower Church, headed by Pastor Pan Yongguang in October 2019, fled persecution by the CCP for religious beliefs. The church voted to move to Jeju Island, South Korea. There, a travel visa is not required for Chinese citizens. Pastor Pan informed the DCNF in March 2022.

After several years of trying, South Korea’s government refused to grant asylum to the Mayflower Church members. According to ChinaAid, the church applied for asylum in Thailand in August 2022.

Gooden’s letter stated that “Under no circumstances should members of Mayflower Church face persecution again in China.” “If these Christians were sent back to China, they will face inexcusable criminal charges, prison and torture.”

The State Department declined comment.

A spokesperson for the DCNF stated that “as a general matter we don’t comment on communications with Congress.”