(AP) – China has sentenced a prominent pastor who operated outside the Communist Party-recognized Protestant organization to nine years in prison.
The People’s Intermediate Court in the southwestern city of Chengdu says Wang Yi was also convicted Monday of illegal business operations and had his assets seized. Wang had led the Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu and was arrested a year ago as part of a crackdown on all unauthorized religious groups in the country.
The government requires that Protestants worship only in churches recognized and regulated by the Three-Self Patriotic Movement.
Even within that framework, the officially atheist ruling Communist Party has been seeking to rein in religious expression, including removing crosses from official and unofficial churches.