Jiang Rong, the wife of Pastor Wang Yi of the embattled Early Rain Church in China, has been released from prison. Jiang spent six months behind bars after she and other members of Early Rain were arrested during a raid by government authorities in December 2018. Jiang has been reunited with the couple’s 11-year-old son, Shuya, while her husband remains in prison.
“Because of the nature of the kind of detention she was placed in, we don’t know a lot about what condition she was in, about whether she was mistreated–although mistreatment is quite common in the type of detention she was placed in,” a spokesperson from Christian Solidarity Worldwide told Premier.
More than 100 members of the church were arrested in December, including elderly members and children. Nearly half of those arrested were released relatively quickly, while over 50 members were held for periods varying from days to months. Currently, five members are still being held, including three elders of the church, according to a Facebook post by the group Pray for Early Rain Covenant Church.
An article by the New York Times suggests Jiang’s release appears to be an effort to comply with Chinese law that states authorities may detain people for six months without trial.
The Early Rain Church raid was just one effort on the part of Chinese authorities to crack down on underground churches and other religious groups in China. Given the concentration of attacks on churches in China lately, and the negative attention given to Christians in particular, it is very apparent the Chinese government sees Christianity as a threat to its power.
The latest push about the church has been the campaign to rid the Bible of any western influence. A new translation has been commissioned and an effort has been exerted to integrate traditional Chinese culture into the state-sponsored churches in China. Despite the persecution, though, China’s underground churches remain strong.
While it is good that Jiang is able to see her son, she has only been released on bail, pending a trial. Please continue to pray for the members of Early Rain Church.