After a secret trial, a judge under the Communist Chinese government sentenced a pastor to nine years in prison, took away his political rights and handed him a $7,000 fine Monday … for being a pastor.
Based solely on his leadership role, Wang Li – the pastor of Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu, the capital of southwestern China's Sichuan province – was found guilty of running standard church practices, restated in his sentence as "inciting subversion of state power" and "illegal business operations."
Another raid, another conviction …
As the Chinese government continued its crackdown on both conventional and house churches throughout China that worship God above the state, authorities arrested Wang and 100 members of his church on December 9, 2018. A year later – a day after Christmas last week – a communist judge suddenly called a secret trial and handed Wang his nine-year sentence to be served in prison, a $7,000 fine and three years of denied political rights.
ChinaAid founder and president Bob Fu – whose Texas-based organization serves China's persecuted Church – says the conviction is just another testimony to the atheistic and authoritarian rule of the Chinese government as it strives to replace God as being the object of all Chinese citizens' submission and worship.
"This is a pure case of unjust religious persecution against a peaceful preacher of a Chinese reformed church," Fu points out in a press release issued Monday by his ministry. "This grave sentence demonstrates [Chinese President] Xi's regime is determined to be the enemy of universal values and religious freedom."
Even though Wang's arrest and incarceration are typical of the communist attack on the Church in China, Fu contends the sentence imposed on the pastor "represents the harshest persecution to a Chinese house church pastor in more than a decade." Consequently, he's urging the Trump administration to continue and increase its support of religious freedom in China.
"We urge Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback to condemn and take immediate action against this barbaric act by the Communist Party regime," the ministry leader states.
Fu also is urging global leaders and the Church worldwide to stand up to the communist crackdown on Christianity in China and "hold [the] evil regime accountable."
This type of authoritarian rule, according to ChinaAid, is by no means an isolated event for the congregants and church leadership at Early Rain Covenant. "Recently, many of the church's members have been mandated to meet with public security officials five times a day," the ministry's website informs.
Crackdown on anyone not revering state above deity
China's ongoing crackdown on Christianity and other faiths has been described as a "dystopian-type social credit system" administered by communist authorities to rank its citizens. That has resulted in many Christians leaving their God-honoring house churches and conventional churches, running for their lives to avoid imminent harm.
"China's ruling Communist Party has carried out a widespread crackdown on all religious institutions in recent years – including bulldozing churches and mosques, barring Tibetan children from Buddhist religious studies, and incarcerating more than a million members of Islamic ethnic minorities in what are termed 're-education centers,'" Fox News reported in July. "President Xi Jinping – who is also party leader – has ordered that all religions must 'Sinicize' to ensure they are loyal to the officially atheistic party … or face the wrath of the Communist regime."
(Sinicize means to make something Chinese in form or character, or to increase the Chinese influence on something.)