China: All five Christians from Taiyuan Zion Reformed Church released

Source:                www.ChinaAid.org

Date:                      March 30, 2022

 

On March 27, Christians picked up Wang Runyun (third from left) and Zhang Ligong (fourth from left)
(Photo: ChinaAid source)

 

(Fenyang, Shanxi province— March 30, 2022) On March 27, Zhang Ligong and Wang Runyun of Taiyuan Zion Reformed Church were released from prison. Now, all five Christians initially charged with “illegally crossing the national border” have been released.

 

Family members and Christians from Zion Reformed picked them up at the detention center. They were full of peace and joy. Wang Runyun held his son in one hand and his daughter in the other. He posted on social media, “Dear family, we are back home safely. Thank you for your prayers. I am very grateful!”

 

Wang Runyun reunited with his wife and children
(Photo: ChinaAid source) 

 

Five Christians were arrested at the same time. Song Shoushan was sentenced to six months and released on January 27. He lost some weight, but he was very peaceful. He told his family that they experienced God’s grace in the prison and shared the gospel with other prisoners. There are many broken people in the prison, and they all need the gospel. He said the other four Christians are all well. On February 27, Zhang Yaowen and Wang Shiqiang were released from prison. They were sentenced to seven months. They were also very peaceful. They took pictures with their family and other Christians in front of the detention center.

 

 

On February 27, Christians picked up Zhang Yaowen (fourth from left) and Wang Shiqiang (fifth from left)
(Photo: ChinaAid source)

 

Zhang Ligong, Wang Runyun, Wang Shiqiang, Zhang Yaowen, and Song Shoushan are all co-workers of Taiyuan Zion Reformed Church. In 2020, they traveled to Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) to attend the “Gospel and Culture Conference 2020” that Pastor Stephen Tong Tjong Eng organized. Their trip lasted from January 28 to February 3, and they used valid passports and visas. However, authorities still charged them “illegally crossing the national border” over a year later. Pastor Tong is an international, influential Chinese pastor who hosts conferences that attract Chinese Christians from all over the world. He openly criticized the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for this religious persecution. The CCP banned his sermons in China to retaliate. 

 

On December 28, 2021, Fenyang People’s Court held a trial for the five Christians. Officials allowed lawyers and family members to attend the court session. They shared the gospel with the officiating judge. Families received the verdict a week after the decision. Their punishment included:

  • Zhang Ligong and Wang Runyun, eight months; a fine of ¥3,000 (~$475 US dollars) 
  • Wang Shiqiang, seven months; a fine of ¥2,500 (~$396 US dollars) 
  • Zhang Yaowen, seven months; a fine of ¥2,000 (~$316 US dollars) 
  • Song Shoushan, six months; a fine of ¥2,000 (~$316 US dollars) 

 

 

Family members of the five Christians took a picture in the court 
(Photo: ChinaAid source)

 

On November 21, 2021, another Two other members of their church—An Yankui and Zhang Chenghao— were arrested under the same charge in November. There is not a date for their trial yet. 

 

Recently, An Yankui’s wife, Yao Congya, received phone calls from Lüliang People’s Procurement and Xiaoyi Detention Center, requesting to meet with An’s lawyer. His lawyer immediately flew to Lüliang from Guangzhou. But when he landed, he was told his covid health code was yellow (not qualified). He was asked to quarantine in his hotel for seven days at his own expense.

 

An Yankui is the preacher of Taiyuan Zion Reformed Church. Due to their close relationship with Early Rain Covenant Church, An’s church became a main target of the Religious Affairs Bureau, National Security agents, and Public Security Bureau in Shanxi province. An Yankui spent New Year’s Day in the detention center.

 

Meanwhile, other churches all over Shanxi province were also persecuted. Some preachers and believers were arrested under charges like “fraud,” “illegally crossing the national border,” “illegal holding of materials promoting terrorism and extremism,” and so on. Shanxi province has become a persecution hotspot.  

 

~Yu Bing, ChinaAid special reporter

 


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