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Pastor and his wife remain detained in China after church arrests

Twelve members of a protestant church in China remain in detention after 100 people were arrested in a raid on 9th December. 

Pastor Wang Yi and his wife Jiang Rong from Early Rain Covenant Church in Sichuan province are among those who remain in detention. 

While some have been released and sent back to their home towns, many are not allowed back to the location of the church and more people have been detained since 9th December. 

The church service on Sunday was also interrupted when and more were arrested then. 

Jane from the religious freedom charity Christian Solidarity Worldwide told Premier's News Hour that their charge is "inciting subversion", which she said: "isn't a religious charge, it doesn't refer to religious activities specifically, it's more of a national security related charge but we see it frequently used against religious leaders, also human rights lawyers who defend religious leaders and other victims of human rights abuses.

"It can really be used in a very wide range of ways. It could carry up to a 15 year prison sentence so, as I say, very serious. 

"We're also very concerned that, as far as we know, neither of them have been able to meet with a lawyer yet, which is obviously art of the right and shows that things are not following due process."

Pastor Wang Yi wrote a letter a few weeks ago, predicting his arrest. The note was handed to colleagues on the basis it should be shared publicly if he ever became detained for more than 48 hours.

It read: "Those who lock me up will one day be locked up by angels. Those who interrogate me will finally be questioned and judged by Christ.

"When I think of this, the Lord fills me with a natural compassion and grief toward those who are attempting to and actively imprisoning me.

"Pray that the Lord would use me, that he would grant me patience and wisdom, that I might take the gospel to them."

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