In what is believed to be the longest sentence against a house church leader in more than a decade, Pastor Wang Yi of the Early Rain Covenant Church was sentenced to nine years in prison for “inciting to subvert state power” and “illegal business operations”. The charges for business operations relate to the printing and distribution of Christian books by the church.
Pastor Wang’s trial was secretly held on 26 December and the verdict was announced on 30 December. Along with the lengthy prison sentence, he was also fined over $10,000 and denied all political rights for three years. “This is a pure case of unjust religious persecution against a peaceful preacher of a Chinese reformed church,” reports Bob Fu, president of ChinaAid.
As for many of the remaining members of the Early Rain Covenant Church (those who have not been imprisoned), governing authorities recently mandated that they meet with security officials five times a day. Despite the stringent stipulations and heavy oppression, members of the church continue to faithfully meet together, seeking to serve God any way they can.
Sources: ChinaAid, Early Rain Covenant Church, Christianity Today
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