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UK News

China: Early Rain Covenant Church member released from jail

by Alex Collett

A member from China's Early Rain Covenant Church (ERCC), who in a worship service was arrested in a raid and suffered greatly whilst in detention due to his medical condition, has been freed on bail and enjoyed a dinner of celebration with his family.

According to US-based persecution watchdog International Christian Concern, the church said that Xing Hongwei, arrested on 14th August, was released on bail pending his trial last Friday.

Mr Hongwei was originally arrested after more than 20 police officers raided a ERCC church service at a tea shop.

ERCC, which are heavily persecuted, announced Mr Hongwei's release in a prayer request update.

Gina Goh, ICC's regional manager for Southeast Asia said: "China's ongoing crackdown against ERCC is the prime example of how Beijing continues to disregard religious freedom for its people even if the Constitution guarantees this right.

"Since the incarceration of ERCC Pastor Wang Yi and elder Qing Derfu in 2018, the government has not ceased its harassment and persecution of the house church. The government's goal is to see all house churches go extinct so they can fully control Christianity in China."

Whilst Mr Hongwei was in detention for twelve days, he suffered physically due to his post-meningitis recovery. 

However with his faith still in God, it became firmer during that time, the church said, adding that he also jokingly said that he successfully went on a diet, which he could not have achieved if "outside."

Roughly 60 church members were locked inside the building, during the raid and released only after they provided their identification. Mr Hongwei was arrested because he refused to comply with authorities' demands.

The police said ERCC was ordered to disband and the gathering was illegal.

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