One of the most prominent Protestant figures in China, the Rev. Gu Yuese, has been detained, along with his wife, and held incommunicado as part of what Chinese evangelical leaders say is a broad official crackdown in China on what is described as harmful “foreign influences.” On Friday, state religious authorities in the city of Hangzhou confirmed that Rev. Gu was undergoing a criminal investigation. Two other prominent Chinese Protestant leaders strongly decried the move by authorities, including Chen Yilu, head of the Nanjing Union Theological Seminary, the official academy in China for pastoral training among Protestants.

“What kind of church system does our Chinese church have?” Mr. Chen asked on social media, criticizing state tampering with the governance of the local church. Gu, also known as Joseph Gu, is both head of China’s largest Protestant evangelical congregation, the Chongyi church in Hangzhou, China’s first megachurch — and he sits on China’s national Standing Committee for religious authority. FULL REPORT