Chinese pastor under criminal detention
by Onize Ohikere
Posted 12/13/18, 12:55 pm
Chinese authorities have officially charged the lead pastor of Early Rain Covenant Church and sent him to criminal detention following a crackdown on church members. Authorities arrested Pastor Wang Yi, his wife, Jiang Rong, and about 100 other church members during raids on their homes and church premises that began Sunday.
Chen Yaxue, Wang’s 73-year-old mother, told the South China Morning Post that police brought her an arrest notice confirming that Wang is under criminal detention for inciting subversion of state power. The pastor has no access to a lawyer and cannot contact family members. Chen said authorities have kept her and Wang’s 11-year-old son under constant surveillance. “The surveillance has taken a huge toll on my grandson,” she said. “I’m very sad and confused, not sure what to think right now.” Authorities sent Jiang into “residential surveillance in a designated location,” where she will remain in solitary confinement outside of the judicial system.
Li Yingqiang, a church elder who posted updates of the crackdown online before his arrest, is also facing charges for picking a quarrel and inciting trouble online, church members reported. Ge Yingfeng, a church staff member, and another church member, Lu Jinheng, faced charges of illegal operations.
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Onize is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Abuja, Nigeria.