April 12, 2006

VOM update

A major Chinese house-church leader was scheduled for a potentially decisive court hearing April 6th, after more than 16 months in police custody. Zhang Rongliang was arrested by Henan police without charges on December 1, 2004. Only months later was he charged with "attaining a passport through cheating" and with "illegal border crossing." Chinese authorities often deny passports to well-known house-church leaders. Health problems such as diabetes and high blood pressure have grown worse while he has been in custody.

Previously, Zhang had been detained five times and spent a total of 12 years in prison for his religious activities. "This will be his third hearing," said a co-worker who asked to remain anonymous. "This time I hope the court can make an independent decision based on truth and justice." Although VOM has no further news of the outcome of this trial, we are concerned for Zhang's welfare.

Pray God will soften the hearts of the authorities to release this innocent man with serious health problems. Pray Zhang's faith will continue to inspire the millions of members of the house churches he led. Pray those who attend the trial will seek the One who has given Zhang so much peace in the midst of suffering.

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