Chinese Christian Jiang Rong, wife of imprisoned pastor Wang Yi, has been able to visit him in prison for the first time in nearly three years. The exact date of when the meeting took place is unknown.
Reports from China Aid say that Jiang found Pastor Wang to be healthy, although he has lost a lot of weight during his time in prison. He has also been allowed to read in prison.
Pastor Wang was detained in December 2018 along with over one hundred members of Early Rain Church. In December 2019 he was sentenced to nine years in prison on charges of ‘inciting to subvert state power’ and ‘illegal business operations’.
Jiang Rong was also detained in December 2018, and held under 'Residential Surveillance in a Designated Location' (RSDL); she was released on 10 June 2019 after six months in detention. Since her release, she has been under de facto house arrest and has been barred from interacting with family, friends, and church members. In August 2019 the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention adopted the opinion that the detention of both the pastor and his wife was arbitrary.
The authorities have continued to exert huge pressure on the remaining members of Early Rain Church at every opportunity. According to a Pray for Early Rain Covenant Church Facebook post dated 2 November, three unidentified men prevented pastoral intern Dai Zhichao's family from leaving their home to go on holiday while accusing his family of attending an “illegal” church. They were later joined by police who also prevented the family from leaving.
The Facebook group had also previously reported that Dai and another church member called He Shan were placed in administrative detention for 14 days and fined 1,000 RMB (approximately £116) in August after police raided a small group meeting. Another post details police harassment against three families from the church.
CSW’s Founder President Mervyn Thomas said: “While we welcome news that Jiang Rong has at last been able to visit Pastor Wang, we are deeply concerned to hear that he has lost a significant amount of weight while in prison. It is also completely unacceptable that this is only the first time Jiang has been able to visit her husband in nearly three years. For a family to be divided for this length of time with no possibility of meeting is entirely inhumane. We echo the calls of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention for the immediate and unconditional release of Pastor Wang, and we further call for the release of elder Qin Defu, who was sentenced to four years in prison on 29 November 2019. Finally, we urge the police to immediately cease all harassment of members of Early Rain Church and other religious adherents in the country.”
Pastor Wang Yi and his wife Jiang Rong. Credit: Early Rain (Facebook)