Sentencing of Pastor Wang Yi Demonstrates Historic Threat to Christians in China

"Major news outlets are reporting that a secretive court in China has sentenced detained Christian pastor Wang Yi to 9 years in prison for inciting subversion of the government. Yi is one of the country’s most famous Christian leaders who founded and leads a large, well-known house church in the country." - RNS

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dgszweda's picture

This is not a threat to Christians.  It is a threat to those who speak out against abuses of the government.  This has been the same issue for decades.  Speak out against the leadership of a country like China and you will risk the punishment.  He used his popularity as a sounding board for his message.

Bert Perry's picture

Can one be a faithful Christian and not do something to curb atrocities committed by one's government?  Let's face facts; the #1 genocide in history is not the Holocaust, the Holodomor of Lenin/Stalin, or Stalin's purges.  It is the 50 million or so people killed in China's Cultural Revolution under the leadership of Mao Zedong.  Thankfully it's nowhere near as bad as it used to be, but there are still millions in political prisons in the People's Communist Republic of China.

We can quibble over how a church leader ought to oppose this--should it be quietly encouraging young people not to work for the government, counseling them to subvert the worst abuses if they do work in government, or should it be speaking openly as this pastor did--but I don't think that "no action" is a tenable position for a church leader there--or for that matter here.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

TylerR's picture

Editor

This took place in the context of China's recent push to create a cult of personality around its president and fashion a civil religion based on loyalty to the State. This has resulted in mass incarcerations and round-up of over one million Muslims and sustained pressure against Christians in the country. This is not "business as usual;" it's something new and frightening. I briefly wrote about this and provided numerous links for context.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

dgszweda's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

We can quibble over how a church leader ought to oppose this--should it be quietly encouraging young people not to work for the government, counseling them to subvert the worst abuses if they do work in government, or should it be speaking openly as this pastor did--but I don't think that "no action" is a tenable position for a church leader there--or for that matter here.

That is fine, but the article stated that this was an attack on Christians.  Instead, the news story was focused on this particular persons vocal attack on the Chinese government.  The headline misrepresented the article.  The focus on the gospel message is not to vocally stand up against the government.

dgszweda's picture

TylerR wrote:

This took place in the context of China's recent push to create a cult of personality around its president and fashion a civil religion based on loyalty to the State. This has resulted in mass incarcerations and round-up of over one million Muslims and sustained pressure against Christians in the country. This is not "business as usual;" it's something new and frightening. I briefly wrote about this and provided numerous links for context.

Your reference and the references in the NYT article to protestants being arrested all pointed back to the same man.  I am not saying that Christians aren't persecuted, they are everywhere including in the US.  But this man was not just simply preaching the gospel.  He took his very visible platform and began to criticize a totalitarian regime (a well known crime in China), and so he stepped out of being a pastor to a political realm.  It is totally unfair in how he was treated, but China is not a free democracy.  In fact, China looks more like the world over the last 8,000 or so years and countries like America are the aberration in history.  With that said, he stepped out, committed a crime (which had nothing to do with preaching the gospel), and now people are surprised about the persecution.  I don't see it.