China holds secret court, sentences Christian pastor

Tuesday, January 7, 2020
 | 
Charlie Butts (OneNewsNow.com)

hands on prison barsWhile the Trump administration works for the release of an imprisoned pastor in China, Christians worldwide are being asked to write and send him letters of encouragement.

Pastor Wang Yi of Early Rain Covenant Church has been charged with inciting subversion of state powers in illegal business operations for providing religious materials. He was arrested with roughly 100 church members, most of whom have since been released. Pastor Wang, however, was ordered to prison for nine years after being tried and sentenced in a secret court.

"I am alarmed that Pastor Wang Yi, leader of Chengdu’s Early Rain house church, was tried in secret and sentenced to nine years in prison on trumped-up charges," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted in response. "Beijing must release him and end its intensifying repression of Christians and members of all other religious groups."

Brynne Lawrence of ChinaAid tells OneNewsNow the Chinese Constitution does provide for religious freedom, "however, it kind of allows for officials to monitor religions," she continues, "which ends up with the Chinese Communist Party trying to assert its own authority over the religion in that sphere."

Lawrence also expects Pastor Wang will have a tough time in prison.

"There are pastors in prison who have faced torture," she laments. "They've faced all sorts of persecution within even just the prison system after they're sentenced simply because of their beliefs and because they were preachers."

ChinaAid encourages Christians in America to ask their members of Congress to apply more pressure on China, and Lawrence agrees that it would be helpful for them to also write scripture-filled letters of encouragement to Pastor Wang. She says those letters are first read by prison guards, who might be influenced by the Christian content.

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Open Doors recently unleashed its 2020 World Watch List identifying the nations where it's most dangerous to be a Christian … and found the overall treatment of Christians and other religious groups for practicing their faith is getting worse.