China sentences Early Rain pastor
A Chinese court sentenced Pastor Wang Yi of Early Rain Covenant Church to nine years in prison after a secret trial last week. The People’s Intermediate Court in the southwestern city of Chengdu convicted him of illegal business operations and inciting to subvert state power, fined him, and confiscated up to $7,160 worth of his personal property.
How does this affect the church in China? It’s the longest sentence for any house church pastor since Alimujiang Yimiti, an ethnic Uighur Christian pastor, was imprisoned for 15 years in 2009. In December 2018, authorities cracked down on Early Rain, arresting more than 100 leaders and members of the unregistered church. Since then, many have been released. In November, a court sentenced Qin Defu, one of the elders, to four years in prison on similar charges of operating an illegal business. In a Facebook post, the church praised God for its pastor’s faithfulness: “May the Lord use Pastor Wang Yi’s imprisonment to draw many to himself and to bring glory to his name.”
Dig deeper: From the WORLD archives, read June Cheng’s 2016 interview with Pastor Wang Yi.
Editor’s note: WORLD has updated this report to include comments from Early Rain Covenant Church and information about Alimujiang Yimiti’s earlier sentence.
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