For 2020 – Make a New Year’s Resolution To Work For The Release Of Pastor Wang Yi – who, since the massacre in Tiananmen Square – has been a consistent voice for liberty, democracy, and freedom – and who has been given a 9 year prison sentence in China.
Also see, below, the NEW YEAR OPEN LETTER from 40 Parliamentarians and Dignitaries, from 18 Countries, Calling on Carrie Lam to Stop Police Brutality in Hong Kong.
And read about the Lithuanian Foreign Minister who, following the desecration of memorials to pro democracy campaigners, who have died in Hong Kong, says such “shameful, disgraceful acts of vandalism…can’t and won’t be tolerated.” This follows the desecration of over 40 Uighur cemeteries in Western China.
In 2020 campaign to end the dishonouring of the dead and the dishonouring of the living.
Asianews (30.12.2019) –
Chengdu (AsiaNews) – Pastor Wang Yi, founder of the Early Rain Covenant Church, has been sentenced to 9 years in prison for “inciting subversion of state power” and for “illegal trade”.
Wang was arrested in December 2018, along with 100 other members of his community in various locations in the Chengdu (Sichuan) district. After nearly a year of pre-trial detention, the Chengdu Intermediate People’s Court today issued the sentence. The trial was held on December 26th. According to several witnesses, the court was surrounded by a police cordon and there were only lawyers in the courtroom. No member of the Church, nor the relatives of the accused, was allowed to be present.
In addition to the nine-year sentence, Wang will be denied political rights for three years and his personal assets, which are around 50,000 yuan (about 6,300 euros), will be confiscated.
The sentence for “subversion” is explained by Wang Yi’s standing as a public figure and his activism, already a democratic activist at the time of the Tiananmen massacre, he later converted to Christianity and became pastor of the Early Rain Covenant Church. Defined by many as “the bravest” religious leader in China, Wang Yi branded the new regulations on religious activities as a tool to stifle religious freedom.
Recently, Wang Yi had also thrown himself against the “cult of Caesar”, after patriotic associations forced Christians to display – often on the altars – the photo of President Xi Jinping.
As for the “illegal trade” charge, it is linked to the fact that the community prints religious books and distributes them among its members and in Chinese society.
During the detention period, a letter was circulated to his community, which Wang Yi had written in anticipation of his arrest. In the text, he says he is “full of anger and disgust because of the persecution of the church by the communist regime, and of the wickedness in depriving people of freedom of religion and conscience”. At the same time, he says he has no desire to change China’s social order, but he does uphold the freedom to announce the Gospel.
For Wang, the persecution of Christians is pushing many Chinese people to “lose faith in their future, leading them to a desert of spiritual disillusionment and through this, to know Jesus”.
The persecution of Christians, he says, “is the most horrendous evil in Chinese society.” “All this – he explains – is not just a sin against Christians. It is also a sin against non-Christians. Because [in this way] the government threatens them in a rough and brutal mode preventing them from coming to Jesus. In the world there is no worse evil than this “.
The Early Rain Covenant Church has about 500 members and 300 sympathizers. Unlike many underground Protestant churches, its members practice faith openly; spread sermons and online studies; they evangelize on the streets of the city; they have a seminar to teach future pastors and a primary school for 40 children.
OPEN LETTER: 40 Parliamentarians and Dignitaries from 18 Countries Call on Carrie Lam to Stop Police Brutality – click here for full text:
40 Parliamentarians and dignitaries from 18 countries, including Asia’s leading Catholic cardinal, the daughter of Indonesia’s former president and former UK House Of Commons Speaker John Bercow, have written an Open Letter to Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam expressing “grave concerns at the recent escalation of police brutality over the Christmas period.”
Signed by Parliamentarians and dignitaries from countries as diverse as Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Denmark, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ireland, South Korea, Lithuania, Malaysia, Myanmar, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, the United Kingdom and the United States, including the Co-chairs of the UK’s All Party Parliamentary Group for Hong Kong Baroness Bennett and Alistair Carmichael MP, Vice-Chair and Hong Kong Watch Patron Lord Alton of Liverpool, members of the German Bundestag Margarete Bause and Martin Patzelt, and former US Congressman Tom Andrews, the letter appeals to the Chief Executive to use her authority and responsibility to “seek genuine ways forward out of this crisis by addressing the grievances of Hong Kong people, bringing the Hong Kong Police Force under control, ensuring accountability and an end to impunity”.
The letter also urges Ms Lam to begin a process of democratic political reform, noting the turnout and results in the district council elections last month.
We released it an hour ago, which was midnight Hong Kong time – New Year!
The Apple Daily have reported it here: – https://hk.news.appledaily.com/international/realtime/article/20200101/60434267?utm_campaign=hkad_article_share&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook&utm_content=share_link
Following the desecration of memorials to pro democracy campaigners who have died in Hong Kong the Lithuanian Foreign Minister has called for a Police investigation and has said that such “shameful, disgraceful acts of vandalism…cant and wont be tolerated.” (see below):
Shameful, disgraceful act of vandalism currently under investigation by Lithuanian authorities. Such behaviour can’t and won’t be tolerated. https://t.co/LgsxPVIiy2
— Linas Linkevicius (@LinkeviciusL) December 29, 2019
The desecration of people’s memorials and graves is a deeply offensive act. Reports of over 40 Uighur cemeteries in Western China being destroyed is now followed by the desecration of memorials to pro-democracy campaigners who have been killed in Hong Kong. In traditional Chinese culture there is a deep respect for the dead and for ancestors who have gone before you. Along with so much else that is valued in Chinese civilisation such respect for the dead is a casualty of hard line ideological Communism.