(Chengdu, Sichuan—Dec. 12, 2018) A pastor seized during an overnight crackdown has been criminally detained, according to an official notice delivered to his mother.
Pastor Wang Yi and his wife, Jiang Rong, were taken into police custody on Sunday night as officials arrested more than 100 Christians who attended their congregation, Early Rain Covenant Church. While in custody, some of the Christians reported suffering violent abuse, including being stepped on.
According to the South China Morning Post (SCMP), Wang’s mother, Chen Yaxue, said police escorted Jiang and the couple’s son to her home so that the child would have someone to look after him, but Jiang was only permitted to stay for two hours.
Since then, no one has seen or heard from her.
On Wednesday morning, officers arrived at Chen’s door and presented her with a notice, which claimed Wang was being held on an “inciting subversion of state power” charge. Officials asked her to sign the document, but she refused, claiming she didn’t understand, said the SCMP.
Wang also penned a statement that was released 48 hours after his disappearance, a translation of which is forthcoming.
“Inciting subversion of state power” is a charge often handed to Chinese Christians, since the Communist Party views religion as a threat to their ideological control and, as such, their rule. However, China’s Christians practice their religion peacefully and never intend to threaten government power. If convicted, the SCMP says Wang could face up to 15 years in prison.
ChinaAid exposes abuses, such as those suffered by Early Rain Covenant Church, in order to stand in solidarity with the persecuted and promote human rights, religious freedom, and rule of law.