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Logo of IRFBA: International Religious Freedom or Belief Alliance

As Chair of the International Religious Freedom or Belief Alliance, I raise the imprisonment of Pastor Wang Yi, a Christian pastor detained in Jintang Prison, China.

In a closed trial in December 2019, with no access to a lawyer, Pastor Wang was sentenced to nine years in prison for “inciting subversion of state power” and “illegal business activity.” Pastor Wang formerly led Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu. At the time of his arrest, the church had hundreds of worshippers.

The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has assessed that his detention is arbitrary.

Pastor Wang has not been given permission to speak to his family by phone or receive visits from them in the past two years. He has only been allowed to see his wife once since his initial arrest. It is unacceptable that the Chinese government is denying him regular in-person visits and communication with his family, including phone calls, and that he has not been allowed a Bible, notebook or pen.

I condemn the crackdown on Early Rain Covenant Church, Pastor Wang’s unjust imprisonment.  I call for his immediate release.

Unfortunately, Pastor Wang is just one of many arbitrarily detained by China for practicing their faith, including many Christians. I call on the Chinese government to cease its repression of independent churches and its persecution of Christians, and to bring its laws and policies on freedom of religion or belief in line with international standards and China’s own Constitution.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future