Wang Yi

Held 1,091 days  Arrested December 2018 in China

Update July 12, 2021

Though Chengdu prison officials have stated that Wang Yi is doing well in prison, a secret source says that's not true. According to the source, prison authorities are holding Pastor Wang Yi in "closed" imprisonment. He is not allowed to meet or speak with other inmates, except for two criminal offenders who are charged with watching him. Pastor Wang eats and sleeps in the same cell with these two men and guards refer to the group as the "three person mutual supervision group."

In addition, Pastor Wang is fed moldy rice, and when medical treatment is necessary, he is given prison medication, which are expired, inferior drugs that prisons "buy back" from hospitals who cannot use them.

Update July 9, 2021

Though Chengdu prison officials have stated that Wang Yi is doing well in prison, a secret source says that’s not true.

According to the source, prison authorities are holding Pastor Wang Yi in “closed” imprisonment. He is not allowed to meet or speak with other inmates, except for two criminal offenders who are charged with watching him. Pastor Wang eats and sleeps in the same cell with these two men and guards refer to the group as the “three person mutual supervision group.”

In addition, Pastor Wang is fed moldy rice.

Update April 3, 2020

An anonymous Early Rain church member received a photo of Wang Yi in prison taken on March 25. The person who provided the photo said it was intended to let people who care for him know his current situation. (You can view the photo on VOM's Facebook page.)

Another church member said the pastor was due to be transferred from the Chengdu Municipal Detention Center in January, but his transfer was delayed because of corona virus. His wife, son and parents remain under house arrest.

Update April 3, 2020

An anonymous Early Rain church member received a photo of Wang Yi in prison taken on March 25. The person who provided the photo said it was intended to let people who care for him know his current situation. (You can view the photo on VOM's Facebook page.)

Another church member said the pastor was due to be transferred from the Chengdu Municipal Detention Center in January, but his transfer was delayed because of corona virus. His wife, son and parents remain under house arrest.

Update February 14, 2020

According to Pastor Wang Yi's lawyer, the Presbyterian pastor will not appeal his nine-year prison sentence. Instead, he will serve it in full. His lawyer said, "God is continuing his ministry ... by moving him from the courtroom to prison."

His attorney also recounted how security personnel came and took Wang Yi's parents by force to his secret trial on Dec. 26, but his wife, Jiang Rong, was not allowed to attend.

Wang Yi was much thinner than before, but he was in a good mental state. Continue to pray for his health while he serves his sentence and for the Early Rain Church.

Update February 14, 2020

According to Pastor Wang Yi's lawyer, the Presbyterian pastor will not appeal his nine-year prison sentence. Instead, he will serve it in full. His lawyer said, "God is continuing his ministry ... by moving him from the courtroom to prison."

His attorney also recounted how security personnel came and took Wang Yi's parents by force to his secret trial on Dec. 26, but his wife, Jiang Rong, was not allowed to attend.

Wang Yi was much thinner than before, but he was in a good mental state. Continue to pray for his health while he serves his sentence and for the Early Rain Church.

Update January 2, 2020

On Dec. 30, Pastor Wang Yi was sentenced at the Intermediate People’s Court of Chengdu City, Sichuan province after a secret Dec. 26 trial. He was charged with “instigating subversion of state power” and “illegal business management” for being the senior pastor of Early Rain Covenant Church. Along with the nine year sentence, he was sentenced to deprivation of his political rights for three years plus a $7,000 penalty.

Update January 2, 2020

On Dec. 30, Pastor Wang Yi was sentenced at the Intermediate People's Court of Chengdu City, Sichuan province after a secret Dec. 26 trial. He was charged with "instigating subversion of state power" and "illegal business management" for being the senior pastor of Early Rain Covenant Church. Along with the nine year sentence, he was sentenced to deprivation of his political rights for three years plus a $7,000 penalty.


Prisoner Details

Pastor Wang Yi is the influential leader of Early Rain Covenant Church in the city of Chengdu, Sichuan province - one of the best-known house churches in China. He and his wife, Jiang Rong, were detained in December 2018 and charged with "inciting subversion of state power" and "illegal business operations." If convicted, Pastor Wang could face up to 15 years in prison.

A former law professor, Pastor Wang has been vocal in calling on the state to uphold religious liberties. Early Rain Covenant Church had been under pressure from the authorities for some time but matters escalated on Dec. 9, 2018. That night and the next day, police raided church members' homes and arrested them. By the end of the week, about 150 church leaders and seminary students were in police custody, and the church had been forcibly closed.

Since then most of those arrested have been released, including Pastor Wang's wife, Jiang (released June 11, 2019), and church elder Li Yingqiang (released Aug. 19 2019). However, several others including Pastor Wang and Deacon Tan Defu, remain incarcerated. Those who have been released remain under surveillance. In July 2019, the defense lawyer for Pastor Wang Yi was barred from meeting with his client and officials assigned different lawyers to his case, even though he specifically chose his own lawyers prior to his arrest.

Church members are very worried about their pastor and have received very little information about his condition or the progress of his case. Since the crackdown, some Early Rain church members have been sent back to their hometowns and banned from Chengdu. Others have lost jobs or been evicted. Church elder Su Bingsen was released in April 2019 and was flown home to Fujian in the company of security officials; his family was evicted from their home while he was in custody. Some of those who were released say they were abused and deprived of food and water.

Early Rain may have been targeted because of its open approach to church mission, which included posting sermons online and street evangelism. The church also ran a Bible school for about 100 students and had a primary school. Its meetings around the city regularly attracted more than 800 people each week. Pastor Wang himself has been a prominent campaigner for greater religious freedom. In 2018, he wrote a declaration signed by hundreds of Chinese pastors, which includes a statement of Christian beliefs and a call for an end to persecution; it also recognizes the Chinese government's authority. Many of those in China who have signed the 'Declaration for the Sake of the Christian Faith' have suffered persecution since.

None of his close associates are certain where Wang Yi is being held, since officials have not released that information, and Wang Yi's chosen lawyers were prevented from either seeing him or working on his case. The provided address is one of the locations where he could likely be held.

Petition Officials

  • Zhang Jun

    Permanent Representative of the People's Republic of China to the United Nations

    Mailing Address

    350 E. 35th Street

    New York, N.Y. 10016

    Other Contact Information

    Telephone: (212) 655-6100

    Fax: (212) 634-7626

  • Cui Tiankai

    Ambassador

    Mailing Address

    Chancery of the People’s Republic of China

    3505 International Place NW

    Washington, DC 20008

    Other Contact Information

    Telephone: (202) 495-2266

    Fax: (202) 588-0032

  • Xi Jinping

    President of the People's Republic of China

    Mailing Address

    President of the People's Republic of China

    Beijing

    People's Republic of CHINA

    100017