There are conflicting reports about what happened to dozens of house church leaders with China Gospel Fellowship (CGF) who disappeared April 19. Initial reports suggested that some 100 leaders were arrested by China's security forces. But later reports put the number closer to 30, and said they may have been kidnapped by a Chinese cult group called Lightning from the East. Cult members reportedly posed as teachers offering intensive Bible training. CGF leaders then went to six locations, including Hebei, Hubei, and Shanghai, to receive training. However, when they arrived they were abducted, and only one person managed to escape.
The cult poses a serious threat to Christianity in China, employing bullying tactics, violence, bribes, and extortion to force people away from churches. The cult believes that Jesus Christ has returned as a Chinese woman named Lightning. The cult is especially popular in rural areas where sound Bible teaching is rare. Lightning from the East, which started in Henan Province and spread rapidly throughout China, now numbers about 3 million.