Wang Yi, "tried in secret", was sentenced for "inciting the subversion of state power, cases of illegal affairs".
Lhe verdict fell on December 30th. Pastor Wang Yi, who was arrested in December 2018 alongside other Christians, was denied a public trial. It is behind closed doors that the judgment to the Sichuan Court has been announced. Wang Yi is therefore sentenced for "inciting the subversion of state power, cases of illegal business" to a 9-year term. prison, to 3 years of deprivation of political rights as well as to the confiscation of his personal property to the tune of more than 6000 euros.
When the conviction was announced, reactions were quick to appear on social networks, like the Secretary of State of the United States, Mike Pompeo, who said he was “concerned”.
“I am concerned that Pastor Wang Yi, leader of the Early Rain House Church in Chengdu, has been tried in secret and sentenced to nine years in prison on false charges. Beijing must release him and end the escalating repression against Christians and members of all other religious groups. "
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. Beijing must release him and end its intensifying repression of Christians and members of all other religious groups.
- Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) December 31, 2019
The day after the verdict, the United States Embassy in China asked, through its spokesperson, Morgan Ortagus, "for his immediate and unconditional release."
“This is yet another example of the intensification of repression against Chinese Christians and members of other religious groups in Beijing. We continue to call on Beijing to respect its international commitments and the promises made in its own Constitution to promote freedom of religion for all individuals, including members of ethnic and religious minorities and worshipers outside official institutions sanctioned by the Constitution. 'State. "
For Amnesty International, this condemnation is "scandalous and unfair".
“The decision handed down on December 30, 2019 outrageously violates supposed religious freedoms in China. Wang Yi was only practicing his religion and fighting peacefully for human rights in China. This nine-year prison sentence is scandalous and unfair. Wang Yi is a prisoner of conscience and should therefore be released immediately and unconditionally. The fact that Wang Yi felt the need to prepare in advance a statement refuting the court's findings and any 'confessions' he might have been forced to make speaks volumes. In China, religious practitioners live under the constant threat of being sued and sentenced on politically motivated charges. "
In an article from Time, Amy Gunia evoked the point of view of the experts on this conviction. The Chinese Communist Party would feel, according to them, "threatened by the rapid spread of Christianity."
“The long sentence and secret proceedings show that the Chinese Communist Party feels threatened by the rapid spread of Christianity in the country, especially from churches that operate outside government rules. "
Fenggang Yang, professor of sociology and director of the Center on Chinese Religion and Society at Purdue University, recalls that there are "about 116 million Protestant Christians in mainland China in 2020" and that it is "almost certain that in 2030 there will be more Christians in China than in any other country in the world ”.
Joe Handley, President of Asian Access, spoke about Chinese Christians to Mission Network News. According to him, Christians will have to learn to “live in secrecy” as did the “older generations”.
He explains how churches are now “getting creative”.
“The church members just walk in a park. They all have headsets and listen to what you and I would think of as a podcast. But in reality, one of those strollers is the pastor and he preaches into a microphone. And they listen to it on their headphones while walking together in the park. So it's just a new way of doing church. "
Pray for Wang Yi, his family, his community, and the persecuted Christians in China.
For more information on the arrest of Pastor Wang Yi:
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