Date: February 23, 2019
(Chengdu, Sichuan—Jan. 28, 2019) The Chinese government has continued their oppression of Early Rain Covenant Church by blocking communication between imprisoned Pastor Wang Yi and his lawyer.
On Feb. 14, Zhang Peihong, the attorney for Pastor Wang Yi’s case, spoke with Chengdu State Security again requesting to meet with his client.
A few days later, Zhang said he had a meeting with the state security official who is responsible for his client’s case for a negotiation. He especially emphasized the following points, a) it was the second time that he requested to meeting with Wang Yi, his client; b) Wang Yi’s mother and his son, Shuya, should move to Wang Yi’s home; c) police need to pass a letter he wrote to Wang Yi if they wouldn’t allow the attorney to directly meet with him.
Police rejected the idea of Shuya moving back into the family home because there are items related to the case. In regard to the lawyer’s visitation request, they argued that it must be approved by the superior of the officer in charge, but it is “unlikely to be approved”. They guaranteed an answer within 48 hours. However, several hours later, Zhang received a phone call from police that “the meeting was not approved and the letter could not be passed to Wang Yi, either.”
The rejected letter simply said, “Dear Wang Yi, I am Zhang Peihong, your attorney. I have the right to communicate with you via mail by law. Please respond as soon as possible when you receive the letter, letting me know your situation, your need, and your arrangement concerning Shuya and your parents.” Nevertheless, the short letter was blocked from being delivered to his client.
Wang Yi, who is 45 years old, was a scholar and freelance writer with a specialty in the constitution before opening Early Rain Covenant Church after converting to Christianity. On Dec. 9, 2018, Chengdu police arrested Wang Yi and his wife alongside over 100 church attendees. Most detained have been released however, Pastor Wang Yi and 15 others remain under criminal detention or residential surveillance.
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