Early Rain Covenant Church Member Escaped to Taiwan: 'No Long Safe' for Christians in China

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

by Jordan Hilger, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) - More information has surfaced regarding the lockup of 100 members of the Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu, China, in December.

49-year-old Liao Qiang, his 23-year-old daughter, and four other family members escaped to Taiwan last week, where they were interviewed at a Presbyterian church service in Tapei about the conditions that led to and followed their initial arrests on December 9 and 10.

“I knew it was no longer safe for us [in China], and that my children were most in danger,” Liao told The Associated Press, saying his daughter had had to notify Chinese officials of her location through social media whenever she left the house in the months following their arrest, while he himself was asked to sign a confession renouncing his faith and involvement in the church.

“If our elders decided to break up the church, then I can accept it. But it’s not up to [the government] to say it’s evil or illegal,” he told reporters.

Liao’s words echoed those of his pastor, Wang Yi, whose open letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping was released by members of Early Rain Covenant church after he was taken into custody in December.

“In the modern totalitarian state that persecutes the church and resists the gospel, the disobedience of faith is an inevitable part of the gospel movement,” Yi had written in the letter originally penned in September with directions to church members to publish it in case of his disappearance.

Wang Yi’s wife, Jiang Rong was released on bail last month, but the fate of the rest of Early Covenant Church is still relatively unknown.

Liao Qiang and his family await a request for asylum in the US, and are receiving legal counsel from the Taiwan Association for China Human Rights, who hope to make the case to the Taiwanese government that the plight of the family constitutes a humanitarian case of religious persecution.

The case will have to be made expeditiously, as the family only has a 15-day tourist visa.