Her family and co-religionists are afraid that Yang Rongli may “die of natural causes” before trial.
by Dong Quiyue
A female preacher and evangelist of the large Sola Fide community Golden Lampstand, Yang Rongli, is being denied treatment for her diabetes in jail and is in serious health conditions, according to a letter circulated by her brother Yang Kai on July 15 among Chinese house churches.
Bitter Winter reported in 2018 on the persecution of the Golden Lampstand Church, a house church in Shanxi’s Linfen city, and the destruction of its place of worship. The congregation is part of a network with more than 50,000 members, and the church had costed nearly 2.6 million USD to build.
We also reported in 2021 that Golden Lampstand continued to meet outdoor and to be harassed by the police. On August 7, 2021, nine Golden Lamp Church leaders and members were arrested in a well-prepared and coordinated Public Security operation, including Pastor Wang Xiaoguang and his wife Yang Rongli, who is also a preacher and evangelist. She is also a former officer of the Veteran Cadre Department of Shanxi Normal University.
Yang Rongli is detained at Yaodu District Detention Center in Linfen City, Shanxi Province and her family does not know about a trial date. Her brother reports that the 67-year-old woman “suffers from severe diabetes.” “She needs to take special hypoglycemic medications regularly every day. Not only there is no such medication in the detention center, but family members are not allowed to send it or to visit.”
Relatives and co-religionists are concerned that before any trial Yang Rongli would die in jail—“of natural causes,” as the official press releases always say.
The Golden Lampstand Church is part of the so-called Sola Fide house churches. These churches do not constitute a denomination, but a loosely connected network without uniform management, which refuses to join the Three-Self Church claiming the latter has rejected and betrayed Martin Luther’s key doctrine of justification “by faith only” (sola fide in Latin).
The Golden Lampstand Church and its members have faced constant persecution by the authorities for decades. In 2009, pastors and co-workers, including Yang Rongli, had already been arrested and received prison sentences.