Bush's Visit to Beijing Helps Trigger Release of Christian LeadersNovember 21, 2005
The Voice of the Martyrs- Michael F. Haverluck
President Bush's two-day visit to Beijing beginning on November 19 proved to be a memorable event for house church leader Pastor Zhang Mingxuan. He was transported by several security agents along with his son from his Beijing detention center to a government guest hotel in Shaqi County of Henan Province the day before Bush's arrival. They were released the day after the President's strong message to Chinese Communist authorities about advancing religious freedom. Their 9:30 AM release also came a couple days after China Aid's press release reported the pastor kidnapped, believing he was being relocated to prevent the President from meeting with him. Pastor Zhang was able to share the gospel with all those detaining him at the hotel before his release.
Eight house church leaders in Henan Province were also released by Chinese authorities the same day President Bush arrived in Beijing. This also happened just hours after China Aid Association issued a press release about their arrests. Two of the leaders, 40-year-old Pastor Huang Hailiang and Pastor Wei Lin (in his 20s), were tortured by their interrogators, but all of the reported leaders were discharged from police custody, even though none of their confiscated church property was returned. China Aid's Bob Fu reported that they all felt honored to be persecuted for their faith, and were extremely grateful to God and everyone who helped and prayed for their release.
In anticipation of President Bush's Beijing visit on November 19, elders from the South China Church wrote an open letter to him. This was done in appreciation for his expressed concern for the SCC's welfare and to heighten his awareness about the treatment and condition of its founder, who has been imprisoned since 2001. It detailed Pastor Gong's unjust death sentence that was mitigated to life in prison for the false charges of "rape," and "intentional injury," as well as "organizing and using a cult organization to undermine the implementation of the law." Also mentioned were the 411 days he was shackled, his beatings and lack of needed medical treatment, and his severe isolation while being detained at Hongshan Prison in Wuhan, Hubei Province. The letter helped Bush understand the extent of Christian suffering, pointing out the arrest of over 1,000 SCC evangelists, while depicting how church members are regularly tortured with electric batons, cigarette butts, deceived, and falsely accused.
Please pray that the Lord would put it on the Chinese government's heart to release more of the thousands of Christians who are being imprisoned for their faith throughout this communist nation.
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