A key Christian leader of Early Rain Covenant Church in China has been released on bail and reunited with her son six months after she and other members of the congregation were detained and their megachurch shut down by communist authorities.
This week, the Facebook page for Early Rain Covenant Church announced that Jiang Rong, wife of church pastor Wang Yi, was released and reunited with the couple’s 11-year-old son, Shuya, who had been living without his parents since they were detained.
Jiang and Wang, who led the 5,000-member church, were initially seized on the night of Dec. 9 and charged with “inciting subversion of state power” as authorities conducted a mass arrest of their church members.
Jiang was later confirmed to be under an unofficial form of incarceration called “residential surveillance at a designated location.” International Christian Concern notes that inmates held in this manner are incarcerated in secretive places instead of state-run prisons and are often subjected to torture and other abuses.
The outlet predicts that Jiang will most likely face a difficult trial as charges continued to be pressed against her because of her leadership role at the church. She also led prayer and women’s groups and hosted Bible study groups at their home.
In December following the arrest of Wang and his wife, over 160 church members were arrested. About half of them were quickly released, but 54 were held for a period of days or months.
Wang, one of China’s most prominent pastors, remains in “secret detention” along with several other church members. Church members who have been released from detention said the authorities planned to charge him with “inciting to subvert state power,” a charge that can result in up to 10 years’ imprisonment.
Wang’s mother, Chen Yaxue, previously told the South China Morning Post that following the church members’ arrest, police escorted her grandson and Jiang to her home to arrange care for the boy. Jiang was allowed to stay for only two hours before police took her away.
Chen revealed that both she and her grandson were placed under round-the-clock surveillance, taking a “huge toll” on the 11 year old.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leah MarieAnn Klett