China has jailed the leader of an unofficial Protestant church for nine years for “incitement to subvert state power”.
According to an announcement on an official website of the Court on Monday, December 30, 2019, Pastor Wang Yi, whose Early Rain Covenant Church was the target of a government crackdown last year, was also found guilty of “illegal business operation” by a court in Chengdu, Southwest China.
Pastor Wang was detained in December 2018 in a raid by authorities in which dozens of members of his “underground church” disappeared.0
Channels TV reports that China’s officially atheist Government is wary of any organised movements outside its own control, including religious ones.
The reports added that Protestants in the country are split between unofficial “house” or “underground” churches like the Early Rain Covenant Church, and state-sanctioned ones where Communist Party songs also feature in the order of service.
The city’s official court website said Pastor Wang was convicted in an open trial by a court in Chengdu, where his Early Rain Covenant Church had been based.
The charge of inciting subversion has often been used against dissidents as a way to silence criticism of the Government and the Communist Party.
Shortly before being detained, Pastor Wang wrote a post on his church’s Facebook page criticising the Chinese Government for repressing Christians, saying “the Party can flourish for a while, but it cannot last forever.”
“The Party can kill my body, but it cannot kill my soul,” Wang wrote.