Chinese Church Leaders Freed After Being Abducted

Tuesday, August 6, 2002

Chinese Church Leaders Freed After Being Abducted

Leaders from a mainstream house church in China have been released after being abducted.

The 34 senior leaders from the China Gospel Fellowship were abducted on April 16 by a group called Eastern Lightning (EL), which uses violence against church members.

A spokesperson from the China Gospel Fellowship (CGF) commented: "All of the kidnapped coworkers have been gradually released. However a few of them are not doing well physically because of the drugs given to them.

"Although they were tempted, enticed and threatened in every way, they have been able to hold onto their faith in the Lord, to overcome the temptations and to refuse the heresies of the female Christ.

"In spite of such an attack on us, the church as a whole has not suffered any loss, with God's sustaining and the work of all coworkers.

"We want to express our thankfulness to God that with His sustaining, with many overseas brothers' and sisters' fervent prayers and intercessions and tears before God."

EL was founded in 1989 by Zhao Wei Shan in Heilongjiang Province and claims that Jesus has already returned to earth as a Chinese woman called Deng from Henan Province.

The group teaches its followers to abandon their families and jobs. It exerts control over its followers by using drugs and sexual entrapment. Absolute obedience is demanded and those who oppose the group are punished with beatings, bribery, kidnap and murder.

Stuart Windsor, National Director of Christian Solidarity Worldwide, said: "We praise God for the fantastic news of these leaders' release. Given the past experiences of those kidnapped by the Eastern Lightning, it is amazing that they have all been released and are safe.

"We continue to uphold them in our prayers as they are reunited with their families and recover from their terrifying ordeal."