An elder who was arrested nearly a year ago as part of the Chinese government’s raid on Early Rain Covenant Church has been sentenced to four years in prison after being charged with “illegal business operations.”
China Aid, a persecution watchdog group, said Qin Defu’s sentence is tied to the church’s possession of 20,000 Christian books, many of them small gospel tracts. Qin was arrested along with Early Rain’s pastor, Wang Yi, and more than 100 other church members.
A Facebook post by a group supporting the church, and attributed to Pastor Wang’s former attorney, said the sentencing was unexpected.
“Police reneged on their earlier promise to his family that if they accepted a government-appointed attorney, they would ‘go through the formalities then release him,’” the post read.
Most of the others who were detained were quickly released after signing documents they would no longer attend the church, according to the Christian Post. Wang, who has publicly denounced the Communist government and encouraged civil disobedience, is awaiting trial at an undisclosed location. According to Qin’s attorney, Pastor Wang admitted his connection to the books and is likely facing at least 10 years in prison. He is charged with “inciting to subvert state power.”
“At brother Qin’s trial, we learned that the charge of ‘illegal…
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