Tuesday, December 31, 2019
His church, popular among the growing middle class in China, was seen as a political nuisance by the authorities because of its local influence and overseas fame. Its commemoration of the 1989 crackdown of the Tiananmen pro-democracy movement and the 2008 earthquake drew the wrath of authorities in Beijing. He was also often a critic of Chinese leader Xi Jinping.
On Dec. 9 last year, just two weeks before Christmas, the authorities closed down the church, raided Wang’s home and detained Wang and his wife, along with some 100 church members. Most were released although Wang, his wife and 11 others were held incommunicado without access to a lawyer for months. Fifty-four were formally arrested on criminal charges including “subverting state power,” “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” and illegal business operations, said a statement on the church’s Facebook page, which is inaccessible from China. Church members said Wang and his colleagues were also investigated for economic crimes for allegedly publishing books and DVDs without government approval.
Those darn Christians. Always making trouble.