A number of Christians from the heavily-persecuted Early Rain Covenant Church have said they were tortured while in custody.
Police swooped in on the underground Chengdu congregation last December, detaining upwards of 100 members. Now, many of those who have been released say they were tortured by Chinese authorities in a bid to get them to incriminate their founding pastor, Wang Yi.
Yi, who is a fierce critic of the government and has even personally called out President Xi Jinping by name, is still behind bars.
According to persecution watchdog International Christian Concern, Chinese officials were so desperate to gain evidence that Yi had “colluded with foreigners to incite subversion of state power,” that they resorted to torturing members of his own flock.
Wang Yi and his wife, Jiang Rong, have since been accused of “inciting subversion of state power,” though Rong was finally released on bail June 11. Pastor Yi himself has vowed to never plead guilty, even if he suffers torture at the hands of this brutal and shameless government.
The Chinese government continues to oppress any congregation it deems to be unofficial and not in line with state policy. Officials have been known to raid churches, steal donations and tear down any symbols of Christ. As a result, thousands of Christians have been forced underground, and are bravely worshipping the Lord despite being in fear of their lives.
President Jinping must repent — Pastor Yi
Amid threats that his church was going to be torn apart by a relentless onslaught of government agents, Wang Yi openly called on the Chinese President to repent of his sins.
In a sermon dated September 9, 2018, he declared that if “Prseident Xi Jinping does not repent he will perish!”
“When we are not being persecuted, we spread the gospel. And when persecution comes, we continue spreading the gospel,” pastor Yi preached in his stirring message. “If we are talking about a President, we declare he is a sinner. And if we are talking about a general secretary, we still declare that he is a sinner. We believe that we have the responsibility to tell Xi Jinping that he is a sinner!”
Yi continued: “The government he is leading has sinned greatly against God, for it is persecution the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, and if he does not repent, he will perish!”
Another Christian persecution advocacy group, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, has launched a campaign to encourage people to show support for Wang while he is behind bars.
Using the hashtag #DearPastorWang, Twitter users have been asked to post messages of encouragement to the stricken pastor.
Do keep pastor Yi and his church in your prayers!