Tuesday, December 31, 2019

China: Christian Pastor Sentenced to Nine Years in Prison

The following is an unedited press release from International Christian Concern (ICC). My comments follow immediately below the press release. Please check out the ICC website at www.persecution.org for more on the persecution and genocide of Christians around the world. 

Pastor Wang Yi Sentenced Following Secret Trial

12/30/2019 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern)International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Pastor Wang Yi from Early Rain Covenant Church (ERCC) in Sichuan was sentenced to nine years in prison for “subversion of state power” and “illegal business operations.”

Based on the statement posted on the website of the Chengdu court in Sichuan, Pastor Wang has also been deprived of his political rights for three years and 50,000 yuan ($7,160 USD) of his personal property was confiscated.

According to China Aid, Pastor Wang was secretly tried on December 26, his wife Jiang Rong’s birthday, at the Chengdu Intermediate Court.

“A large amount of plainclothes officials were stationed near the court, according to one witness who was detained and later released. Only government appointed lawyers were at the trial,” the persecution watchdog stated. “No members of Pastor Wang’s family or members of Early Rain Covenant Church were invited to the proceedings.”

Wang’s wife has been placed under house arrest along with her 12-year-old son, with no access to the outside world. She was also detained for several months until she was released on bail last June.
Wang’s lawyer, Zhang Peihong, who has been prevented from representing him, commented on Facebook today, “Woe to you, for you see evil as kindness and see kindness as evil. You are not sending a criminal to prison, [instead], you are crowning a righteous man.”

A church leader who is a friend of Pastor Wang told ICC, “The reason why the authorities picked nine years for his imprisonment is so that when he comes out, he will lose influence. The government wants to use him as a scapegoat to warn other house church pastors not to do the same like him.”
Pastor Wang is the last person from ERCC who was sentenced, after elder Qin Derfu was sentenced to four years in prison for “illegal business” on November 29. Given the lack of rule of law in China, it is unlikely that Pastor Wang’s sentence will be overturned.

He was detained last December along with his wife and more than 100 other ERCC members, many of whom have since been released on bail, but still placed under surveillance.

Gina Goh, ICC’s Regional Manager for Southeast Asia, said, “The sentence of Pastor Wang Yi further proves that the Chinese government disregards religious freedom and is paranoid about Christians from house churches. The unfounded accusations against Pastor Wang Yi and the inhumane treatment of his wife and son are pure evil. The international community must rally behind Pastor Wang and condemn China for its ongoing persecution against Christians.”

Timothy's Comments: China, which remains under strict communist control despite opening up to capitalism in recent decades,  has a population of approximately 1.4 billion people. The Communist Party in China, which is officially atheist, has approximately 70 million members. However, the strong growth of Christianity in China has resulted in slightly over 100 million Chinese Christians - approximately 75 million Evangelicals and 27 million Catholics. Also, the Chinese Orthodox Church, an autonomous Eastern Orthodox church, has about 15,000 members.  

This situation of Christians outnumbering official Communist Party members is at least partially behind government crackdowns on Christianity over the last few years as they seek to exercise control over Christianity in China. Communist governments, and all other collectivist regimes, demand that the citizen's top loyalty be to the State, not to God, the Church, or even the family. The State essentially sets itself up as God, and hates competition for that slot. 

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