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 was arrested on December 1, 2004. (China Aid, December 10, 2004)
Religious leader Zhang Rongliang at risk of torture | Zhang Rongliang the leader of the China for Christ Church, one of the largest "house church" networks in China, and also of the Protestant Fangcheng Mother Church. He was detained in Xuzhai village, where he lives, in Zhengzhou city. (Amnesty International, August, 2004)
Prominent Church Leader Arrested | According to China Aid, a prominent house church leader in China, Zhang Rongliang, was arrested on December 1 at his home in Xuzhai village in Henan Province. His wife and children were able to escape and are presently in hiding. (Voice of the Martyrs, December 15, 2004)
More Christianity Today articles about China include:
The Chinese Church's Delicate Dance | A conversation with the head of the Protestant Three-Self Patriotic Movement. (Nov. 11, 2004)
Loose Lips | Christians in Hong Kong worry over remarks by broadcaster. (Aug. 13, 2004)
A Captivating Vision | Why Chinese house churches may just end up fulfilling the Great Commission. (April 14, 2004)
China Arrests Dozens of Prominent Christians | At least 50 detained in fresh crackdown on house churches, reportedly promoted by new video and book releases. (Feb. 18, 2004)
The Red Glowing Cross | A veteran journalist makes vivid the hidden and expanding world of Chinese Christianity (Feb. 18, 2004)
House-Church Christian Dies in Custody | Family saw prisoner injured and bound with heavy chains (Jan, 15, 2004)
Crushing House Churches | Chinese intelligence and security forces attack anew. What you can do to help persecuted Christians in China (Jan. 13, 2004)
About-Face on Charities | Communist leaders invite even Christians to help the poor. (Oct. 21, 2003)
'Dangerous' Chinese Bill Is Thwarted | Article 23 would have automatically banned Hong Kong groups now outlawed on the mainland. (Aug. 21, 2003)
Breakthrough Dancing | A look at the one of the most creative youth ministries in Hong Kongif not the world. (July 23, 2003)
Hit by the SARS Tornado | Breakthrough reacted quickly when the disease hit Hong Kong. (July 23, 2003)
Inside CT: Chinese Puzzle | Things are changing for China's church. (March 07, 2003)
Under Suspicion | Hong Kong's Christians fear antisedition measures will curb religious liberty. (Feb. 21, 2003)
Did Apostles Go to China? | Evidence suggests Christianity reached China in the first century. (Oct. 21, 2002)
Working with the Communists | Some evangelicals minister happily within China's state-supervised Three Self church. (Oct. 18, 2002)
Bush: 'I'm One of Them' | Religious persecution allegations set the stage for George Bush's visit to China. (Feb. 27, 2002)
'New' China: Same Old Tricks | Top communists, despite their denials, endorse arrest and torture of Chinese Christians by the thousands. (Feb. 15, 2002)\
The Unlikely Activist | How a bitter atheist helped besieged Christiansand became a believer. (Feb. 15, 2002)
What China's Secret Documents Reveal | The New York archive of religious persecution in China contains numerous government documents that show how the government controls religion. (Feb. 15, 2002)
China Persecution Dossier: Zhang Wu-Ji | Tortured to the point of death. (Feb. 15, 2002)
China Persecution Dossier: Shi Yun-Chao | Beaten for Hosting Bible Studies. (Feb. 15, 2002)
China Persecution Dossier: Gu Xiangmei | Surviving on "tiger's diarrhea." (Feb. 15, 2002)
In Perspective: What is the Falun Gong? | And why does the Chinese government want to destroy it? (Feb. 06, 2002)
Gong's 'Accusers' Claim Torture Induced False Confessions | Letters from imprisoned Christian women in China describe assaults with electric clubs (Feb. 01, 2002)
Gospel View from China | He Qi first saw Jesus' face in an old magazine. Now he paints his own images of the biblical story. (Jan. 25, 2002)
Church Leader Gets Reprieve | China's case against Gong Shengliang now on hold. (Jan. 24, 2002)
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