July 24, 2019 | Morning Star News
Authorities in China have added “illegal business activities” to the subversion charge against pastor Wang Yi and have coerced congregation members to falsely accuse him, according to advocacy and media reports.
Pastor Wang, of Early Rain Covenant Church (ERCC) in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, was detained in a Dec. 9 raid along with more than 100 congregation members and, as leader of an unregistered church, was charged with “inciting subversion of the state.” His arrest was formalized on Dec. 14. He remains incarcerated along with four other church leaders.
Chinese Christians were baffled at the “illegal business activities” charge, with an elder at a Beijing house church telling Radio Free Asia that it makes no sense, as the church doesn’t sell Bibles or anything else.
Authorities have forbidden Pastor Wang’s attorney to confer with him.
Other ERCC members have been released but regularly arrested and interrogated for brief periods since the Dec. 9, 2018 round-up. Some of them report being forced to take unidentified substances and make false accusations against church leaders, advocacy group China Aid reported.