A member of the Early Rain Covenant Church (ERCC) in Sichuan, China who was arrested last March by Chinese government officials was released last week.
After spending the last seven months in prison, Gou Zhongcan was on October 22, released and allowed to return home to Bazhou City, according to International Christian Concern.(ICC).
A Chinese Christian familiar with the case shared on Twitter on Oct. 23, “Brother Gou Zhongcan from ERCC in Chengdu, who was arrested in March earlier this year has returned home yesterday. Thanks be to God that the captive has been delivered!”
It has been reported that Gou’s vision deteriorated during the time of his incarceration. Jia Xuewei, another ERCC member, told the non-profit charity that otherwise he is in good health.
ICC says that Gou went missing on March 15, while he was visiting a friend in Zhejiang. His cellphone and computer were taken away from him. Three days later, he was spotted at the Hangzhou East Train Station being escorted by multiple plainclothes police officers. His head was shaved and he was handcuffed.
Since then, Gou’s lawyer has been unable to locate him despite multiple attempts. China Aid reported in July that Gou was detained and held in the basement of a public security bureau office for refusing to reveal the passwords to his computer and cell phone. When Gou’s elderly father was finally allowed to meet with him, he shared that his son did not look well, but that he had been singing hymns and worship songs while being detained.
Gou had already spent 10 years imprisoned due to his human rights work. At 23-years-old, he was a reporter and was imprisoned for reporting on the inhumane treatment of prisoners in China to human rights organizations abroad. He reportedly underwent severe torture during that time, chvnradio reports.
Gou came to Christ in 2016 after he was released, and began attending ERCC.
Bob Fu, president of ChinaAid says, that he’s thanking God for Gou’s release.
Thx God. Brother Gou Zhongcan from Early Rain Covenant Church was released after being incarcerated illegally by CCP regime for 7 months. He spent 10 years already for China human rights work previously. Pray for his recovery. https://t.co/9EatiUVsCV— Bob Fu傅希秋 (@BobFu4China) October 24, 2019
Gina Goh, ICC’s Regional Manager for Southeast Asia, says, “What great news to know that Gou is finally free. But the Chinese government has not relented on the persecution of Christians. ERCC pastor Wang Yi and elder Qin Derfu are still criminally detained on trumped-up charges and their lawyers and family have not been able to see them, even after 10 months. We should continue to put pressure on Beijing so that they will be set free. None of them deserved imprisonment in the first place.”
China is ranked 27th on Persecution Watchdog, Open Door’s list of top 50 countries where it is most deadly to be a christian.