A church leader in China who went missing in the spring has now been released by government officials.
International Christian Concern (ICC) reports that on October 22, Gou Zhongcan from Early Rain Covenant Church (ERCC) in Sichuan was released and returned home to Bazhou city. Gou was detained in March and spent the last seven months in prison.
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.
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.”