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Shi Enhao

Shi Enhao, a leader in China’s growing underground church movement, disappeared last month — and it turns out he’s been in police custody, held on “suspicion of using superstition to undermine national law enforcement.”

Shi is one of as many as 150 million Chinese Christians who refuse to join the Communist Party’s Three-Self Patriotic Movement — the only Protestant church legal on the Chinese mainland. Children are not permitted at Three-Self churches, pastors are employed by the government and preach on assigned topics given them by Party officials.

Shi is the deputy chairman of the Chinese House Church Alliance. His daughter says the family learned weeks after his disappearance that he has been “criminally detained.” Criminal detention is the first step of the legal process that ends in a trial and the almost-inevitable conviction of a criminal offense, according to Radio Free Asia.

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