Chinese authorities arrested a prominent house-church leader off the street in Zhengzhou, central Henan province, on December 1. The China Aid Association, a respected U.S.-based advocacy group, says the arrest "comes in the midst of a serious crackdown against the house churches."
Arrested was Zhang Rongliang, 53, who leads the Fengcheng fellowship of house churches. Zhang told Open Doors in 2002 that the fellowship has 10 million members. (See ct China coverage, p. 70.)
Zhang was charged in 1974 with engaging in "counter-revolution under the guise of religion." The latest charges against Zhang were not released.
Voice of the Martyrs reported that Zhang's "apartment had been searched and all of Zhang's Christian DVDs, materials, and photos revealing relationships with foreigners and foreign agencies had been confiscated."
Since 1974, Zhang has been held in detention five times, serving between 40 days and 7 years. Zhang has been incarcerated a total of 12 years and, according to China Aid, has been tortured with electric shocks.
China Aid believes he is being held somewhere in Henan province. Zhang's wife and children are in hiding. Christian Solidarity Worldwide noted that Zhang has diabetes.
Zhang has a high profile in China and internationally. A coauthor of the "House Churches of China's Confession of Faith and Declaration" in 1999, he appeared in David Aikman's 2003 book Jesus in Beijing. Time, Newsweek,Charisma, and Christianity Today have also covered Zhang.
News elsewhere about the arrest of Zhang Rongliang includes:
Senior Chinese House Church Leader Arrested; More Churches Raided Before Christmas | China Aid confirms that one of the most prominent Chinese House Movement leaders pastor Zhang Rongliang ...