A court in China has sentenced a prominent pastor to nine years in prison on charges of "inciting subversion of state power" and "illegal business operations."
Pastor Wang Yi led the Early Rain Covenant Church, one of the most prominent underground churches in China.
China Aid reported that Wang and 100 other members of his church were taken into custody on Dec. 9, 2018, after his home was raided and ransacked by police.
Their arrests were part of an ongoing Communist crackdown on all unauthorized religious groups in China.
The Chinese government has taken extreme measures like bulldozing churches and mosques, barring Tibetan children from Buddhist studies and incarcerating more than a million members of Islamic ethnic minorities in what are termed "re-education centers."
Chinese authorities require that Protestants worship only in churches recognized and regulated by the Communist Party.
CBN News previously reported that Communist Party leader President Xi Jinping has ordered that all religions must "Sinicize" to ensure they are loyal to the officially atheistic party.
Wang had criticized the government for forcing its citizens to engage in "Caesar worship" by treating President Xi like a god. His arrest may have been triggered by his 7,300-words manifesto titled "Meditations on the Religious War," which he wrote and posted on social media.
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