Pastor Wang Yi, who has been in a Chinese prison since December, has been hit with new charges.
Yi and 100 members of his Early Rain Covenant church were rounded up in a raid by China's government in early December 2018. Yi has been in prison since, but his wife was finally released on bail last month.
Yi had originally been charged with Inciting Subversion. Now, according to Mission Network News, he's also been charged with Illegal Business Activity.
John Pudaite, President and CEO of Bibles For The World, told MNN, “I think the situation in China just needs to be bathed in a lot of prayer. We do see a tightening of things. A lot of the ministries we’ve been to talking with are working with the registered Church, and so they don’t face as much of the oppression or difficulties [and] persecution that we’re seeing that is coming down on the unregistered Church.
“The underground Church has been given basically two years to get registered, ‘or else.’ They’ve been given no other options. So the clock is ticking on that. At the same time, there are pressures on the registered Church to try to minimize influence from the West.”
Early Rain Covenant Church has refused to register with China's Religious Affairs Bureau. Churches that do register are closely monitored by the country's communist government.
Read more: Letter from imprisoned pastor published
The government has been replacing words in hymns and turning them into political anthems. They've also been rewriting parts of the Bible to bring it more in line with the government's values.
In the fall of 2018 Rev. Bob Fu testified before the US Congress that the Chinese Communist government has a five-year plan to "water down" Christianity.