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World News

Imprisoned Chinese pastor reunited with wife in first prison visit in 3 years

by Heather Preston

A Chinese pastor has been granted his first visit from his wife, since being incarcerated three years ago.

Pastor Wang Yi from the Sichuan Province was detained in December 2018 along with over 100 members of Early Rain Covenant Church including his wife, Jiang Rong. 

Wang, who founded the church was later sentenced to nine years in prison for 'inciting to subvert state power' and 'illegal business operations'.

Jiang was held under 'Residential Surveillance in a Designated Location' for six months before being released in June 2019. 

Since then, she has been under de facto house arrest and has been barred from interacting with family, friends, and church members. 

The pair founded Early Rain Covenant Church 2015 and claim they have faced police harassment and intimidation since its opening.

Following her recent prison visit, Jiang has reported her husband to be in good health, though visibly underweight.

Reports of intimidation by local authorities towards Early Rain Church members has continued in recent years.

According to a Facebook post, dated 2nd November, a group of men prevented a pastoral intern from leaving his home, accusing him of attending an 'illegal underground church', the men were later joined by local police enforcement.

Another post claims that two Early Rain church members were detained for 14 days and fined 1,000 RMB (£116) after police raided a church meeting.

Following an investigation, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention - which examines alleged cases of unfounded arrests, claimed the detention of both Wang and Jiang was arbitrary. 
Christian Solidarity Worldwide are calling for Pastor Wang's immediate and unconditional release.

Founder and president Mervyn Thomas added: "We urge the police to immediately cease all harassment of members of Early Rain Church and other religious adherents in the country."
 

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