China frees Christian prisoner amid ongoing persecution
|Gou Zhongcan is free after seven months imprisonment in China because of his Christianity.|
China Aid photo
By Diana Chandler - Posted at Baptist Press:
CHINA (BP) -- China has freed an imprisoned Christian but continues a reign of persecution including church demolitions and restrictions barring foreign students from worship, religious liberty advocates reported.
China released house church member Gou Zhongcan Oct. 22 after seven months in prison, International Christian Concern (ICC) reported Thursday (Oct. 24). Gou, a member of Early Rain Covenant Church (ERCC) in Sichuan, had gone missing in March and was seen days later with several plainclothes police, witnesses told ICC. Police have taken into custody 150 members of the church since fall, 2018.
In the latest reported church demolition, police demolished a government-sanctioned Three-Self Church in Anhui province Friday (Oct. 18), attacking the church without notice of demolition and disrupting worship for perhaps 3,000 worshipers. Police arrested two pastors and three members of the church days later, Oct. 22, China Aid reported.
Elsewhere in China, restrictions barring foreigners from worship most recently affected a group of 80 students from Africa, according to religious liberty advocate Bitter Winter. Under the guise of "preventing foreign infiltration through religion," China prohibits foreigners from attending Three-Self churches and denies them the opportunity to form separate congregations, Bitter Winter reported Oct. 15.