China’s Ongoing Persecution of Christians and the Case of Pastor Wang Yi

 

Gillian Richards and Olivia Enos, Commentary, The Daily Signal

May 03, 2022

 

The political landscape in the U.S. has shifted since 2018, yet Pastor Wang Yi still languishes in a Chinese prison. He’s a fitting symbol of the many persecuted by Communist China for their religious faith. Yet few outside China know his name.

 

Wang, founder of Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu, China, was arrested in December 2018, along with over 100 other members of his congregation. They were charged with “inciting subversion of state power”—a charge often given to Christians who do not fit the Communist Party’s ideological mold.

 

Wang’s church released his statement on civil disobedience—a treatise he penned on how believers should respond when the state conflicts with deeply held religious beliefs—shortly after his arrest.

 

A year later, on Dec. 30, 2019, the People’s Intermediate Court in Chengdu sentenced him to nine years in prison. He was convicted for “illegal business operations” and “inciting subversion” against the state.

 

Wang’s wife, Jiang Rong, was allowed to visit him in November 2021—the first time since his arrest three years before. Prior to this visit, Chengdu State Security forces prohibited his family members from visiting the prison.

 

Information on Wang is still limited, however, as Chengdu State Security restricts what he can disclose to family members. Chengdu Jintang Prison officials have claimed Wang is in good condition. But insider reports say he is likely being held in closed confinement. If so, he can’t meet with inmates other than two hardened criminals who likely share his cell. He is forced to eat moldy rice. Any health care he receives would come, at best, from unqualified medical staff or might even be cobbled together from fellow prisoners.

 

The Chengdu National Security Police also continue to intimidate and harass Wang’s family. Party officials have subjected his wife to 24-hour surveillance. They installed 360-degreee cameras in her home, robbing her of all privacy. The police also surveil and harass Wang’s parents and son.

 

Moreover, congregants of Early Rain Covenant Church continue to face persecution. Dai Zhichao and his family, for instance, have been subject to various forms of harassment by Communist Party officials, such as intimidation and the vandalizing of their home. Police have also targeted members of his small church group, one of whom was threatened and beaten on three separate occasions.

 

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