Update: Fushan church leaders sentenced to prison

Pastors Wang Xiaoguang and Yang Rongli
conducting a baptism service
Photo from ChinaAid
Five leaders of the Fushan house church, who have been held in detention since their unwarranted arrests on September 25 (click here for more details), were sentenced to prison on November 25 following a 12 hour trial. At the trial, the pastors -- Yang Rongli, Wang Xiaoguang, Yang Xuan, Cui Jiaxing, and Zhang Huamei -- were only allowed to have four of their family members in attendance and their lawyers were only able to review 50 of the 1,000 pages of "evidence materials" in preparation for their defense. Yang Rongli was sentenced to seven years of detention for "illegally occupying farming land" and "disturbing transportation order by gathering masses." Wang Xiaoguang, Yang Xuan, and Cui Jiaxing were each given prison sentences ranging three to four years for "illegally occupying farming land" and Zhang Huamei was sentenced to four years for "disturbing transportation order by gathering masses." Yang Rongli and Wang Xiaoguang have led the Fushan church, which is part of a 50,000 member house church network in the area, for more than 30 years.

On November 30, five more church leaders were handed two-year sentences of re-education through labour. The five -- Li Shuangping, Yang Hongzhen, Yang Caizhen, Gao Qin, and Zhao Guoai -- were charged with "gathering people to disturb the public order" after they organized a 1,000-believer prayer rally following an attack by over 400 military police on their church in September. Yang Caizhen, who is the wife of imprisoned church leader Yang Xuan, had one of her teeth knocked out during severe interrogations and is in frail condition. (Source: ChinaAid)

Ask God to sustain these brothers and sisters and their families through this difficult time. Pray that these charges will be dropped and the leaders will be released. Ask God to encourage the members of this church to continue to worship and serve Him.

For more information on how Christians suffer persecution in China, check out the China Country Report.

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