Minister An Yankui and Zhang Chenghao were arrested and detained last November for attending a 2020 Christian conference in Malaysia, hosted by prominent Chinese-Indonesian Pastor Stephen Tong. Five other Christians were arrested and incarcerated for the same charge but released earlier this year. An and Zhang have been in jail for nine months, and finally had their day in court on Friday 5 August.
At the hearing, An and Zhang’s lawyers asked for a withdrawal of the case, arguing that the Fenyang City court does not have jurisdiction over the case. The judge called a recess to consider the request and will announce a new trial at a later date.
In addition, the wives of the two church leaders were recently given 15-day detentions.
An’s wife, Yao Congya, was taken to Taiyuan’s Yingze police station for interrogation last Thursday. Hours later, she notified her family that she was given a 15-day administrative detention for “illegal gathering” because she worshipped with others at a hotel on 3 April. Although the gathering occurred in April, authorities claim that her punishment had been delayed due to the pandemic.
Zhang’s wife, Guo Juan, was also placed under a 15-day administrative detention at the end of Friday’s trial. Police said they were finally able to locate her and place her under detention.
The heavily-persecuted house church is requesting prayer, as they are concerned that their remaining preacher, Wang Yingjie, will be taken away for administrative detention.
“Please pray for us,” they ask. “May God lead Xuncheng Church’s future path and sustain every person who is weak.”
“China’s abuse of its legal system continues to criminalise Christians who refuse to submit to the communist government’s control,” said Gina Goh, ICC’s Regional Manager for Southeast Asia.
“From the intentional arrests of the wives of minister An and brother Zhang, to the trumped-up charges slapped on them, the sinister regime considers Christians an enemy of the state for merely practising their faith.
“The US government and global community should continue to follow these cases of religious persecution and pin Beijing down on human rights violations whenever possible.”
Source: International Christian Concern
Pray for Minister An and Zhang as they wait for a new hearing date to be appointed.
Pray for courage and protection over their house church and its remaining preacher.
Pray that believers in China will be encouraged to boldly proclaim the truth despite heavy persecution from the Chinese government.