China jails underground pastor Wang Yi for nine years for inciting subversion

Leader of Early Rain Covenant, which is not sanctioned by Communist party, swept up in crackdown on religion under Xi Jinping

Reuters in Shanghai
Date: 30 Dec 2019

Wang Yi, pastor of the Early Rain Covenant church, has been jailed in China after being accused of inciting subversion. Photograph: Early Rain

A Chinese court has sentenced the pastor Wang Yi to nine years in prison on charges of inciting subversion of state power and illegally operating a business.

Wang was among dozens of churchgoers and leaders of the Early Rain Covenant church detained by police in December 2018. Most were subsequently released.

The church is one of China’s best-known unregistered Protestant “house” churches. Chinese law requires that places of worship register and submit to government oversight but some decline to do so and are called house churches.

China’s constitution guarantees religious freedom but since Xi Jinping became president six years ago the government has tightened restrictions on religions seen as a challenge to the authority of the Communist party.    [FULL  STORY]