Los Angeles, CA – The three Christians arrested in China yesterday have arrived safely in the United States after being deported for speaking out about oppression in China.
Rev. Pat Mahoney, Brandi Swindell, and Michael McMonagle were detained after Chinese police broke up a press conference in Tiananmen Square where the group was attempting to speak out against China’s forced abortion policies, religious persecution, and other human rights violations. (See video of their arrests.)
The three were taken into custody and spent several hours at a Beijing police station where their cell phones were disabled and they were threatened with lengthy jail sentences. Authorities demanded that they pay $2,000 apiece for immediate plane tickets out of China. The group refused, stating that they had done nothing wrong.
Supporters in the United States became concerned after having no communication from the group for over 24 hours.
Eventually, the Chinese government paid for the tickets and put the three Americans on an Air China flight back to Los Angeles with only a plastic bag of personal items. The rest of their luggage remains in China.
The three Christians arrived in Los Angeles at 7:00 PM Pacific Time to a group of cheering supporters.
“We are relieved that these brave Christians have returned to freedom safely,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. Operation Rescue had provided support for the group’s prophetic outreach to China.
“We are proud to stand with these courageous Christians, who were willing to risk their freedom to speak out on behalf of those who have none. The world heard the message loud and clear that basic human freedoms must be restored in China, if that nation is ever to take its place as a leader in the world,” said Newman. “The barbaric practices of forced abortions and sterilization, and the persecution of Christians and other people cannot be accepted or tolerated.”