Wife of detained Chinese pastor freed after six months

Jiang Rong(Photo: Early Rain Church)

The wife of a pastor being held in China has been freed from detention after six months.

Jiang Rong, a member of Early Rain Church, was released on 10 June but her husband, Pastor Wang Yi, and several other church members remain in detention. 

She was released on bail pending trial together with one other church member, according to the church's Facebook page. 

Jiang, her husband and over a hundred other church members were rounded up last December. Many of them were detained for short periods. 

Wang and Jiang have been accused of inciting subversion, while Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports that other church members are facing harassment from police and landlords. 

Unregistered churches across China have come under renewed pressure as a result of changes to regulations on religious affairs that came into effect in February 2018. 

Many unregistered churches have been closed as a result of the new regulations, while their pastors and congregations have faced harassment from the authorities. 

However, registered churches have also been caught up in the crackdown on religious groups, with some being forced to remove religious symbols and cancel children's activities. 

In some parts of China, church buildings have been demolished.

CSW's Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas called for all the charges to be dropped against the Early Rain Church members.

"While we welcome the news that Jiang Rong has been released on bail and reunited with her son, we strongly condemn her six month long detention and the charges against her, which are completely unfounded," he said. 

"For half a year, Jiang has been arbitrarily deprived of her liberty and kept apart from her son. We call on the Chinese authorities to drop all charges against Jiang, to release immediately and without condition all Early Rain Church members still in detention, and to cease all forms of harassment against the church."