Observers, netizens slam Netherlands interfering in China’s judiciary after pastor conviction

By Zhang Hui Source:Global Times Published: 2020/1/2 15:53:39

Netherlands slammed over interfering in China’s judiciary

Notice about outlawing Early Rain Covenant Church Photo: website of Qingyang district civil affairs bureau

Chinese observers and netizens have slammed some Western countries, including the Netherlands and the US, for grossly interfering in China's internal affairs and judiciary decision after they openly supported a Chinese pastor who was recently sentenced to nine years in prison for attempted subversion of state power and running illegal business operations. 

Furious Chinese netizens have stormed the commentary section of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in China since Wednesday with comments stating that the Netherlands has no right to point the finger at China's internal affairs, and Chinese people will not tolerate such deeds.

On New Year's Day, the Dutch embassy posted on Weibo, a Twitter-like platform, that a new year's wish of the Netherlands is that countries worldwide will unconditionally implement the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It posted a screenshot of the recent court ruling on Wang Yi, a pastor who founded the unregistered Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu, Southwest China's Sichuan Province.

The Early Rain Covenant Church's case was handled long ago by the Qingyang district civil affairs bureau in Chengdu, an official with the Department of Ethnic and Religious Affairs of Chengdu told the Global Times. According to a notice on the website of the Qingyang district civil affairs bureau, the church was banned in December 2018. The church was never registered and had organized activities as if it were a registered social organization; therefore it was deemed to be an illegal social organization.  

Wang was sentenced to nine years in prison for inciting subversion of state power and illegal business operations. He was also deprived of political rights for three years and fined 50,000 yuan ($7,179), according to Chengdu Intermediate People's Court on Monday. 

The Dutch embassy also posted a screenshot of Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which said that "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion…"

The embassy's post soon drew the ire of Chinese netizens who condemned the Netherlands for interfering in China's internal affairs. 

"Chinese people will never allow religion to interfere in politics or foreign countries to meddle in China's internal affairs!" read a comment that received thousands of likes on Weibo. 

"You want to know my New Year wish? I will fire back at those who blatantly interfere in China's internal affairs," one netizen said. 

Some netizens criticized the Netherlands for its double standards on human rights issues, and others slammed the Netherlands for interfering in China's judicial decision.   

Some said Wang was just a "petty clown" and people must be laughing their heads off at him for trying to use religion to carry out illegal political activities, and that China protects its citizens' freedom of religious belief and legal religious activities.

Other countries, including the US, have also sought Wang's release. 

The US Department of State on Tuesday accused China of "intensification of repression of Chinese Christians and members of other religious groups." 

Observers believed that using convicted criminals and dissidents to accuse China of human rights violations and religious repression is just a typical trick of some Western countries who seek to invent fake news catering to the taste of the Western media in a bid to discredit the Chinese government and judicial authorities.   

An expert on religion who requested anonymity told the Global Times that China respects and protects the freedom of religious belief, and that religious activities and the establishment of religious organizations and venues have to abide by Chinese laws and regulations. 

Religious organizations in China must register at local civil affairs bureaus, but clearly Wang's church failed to register, the expert said. 

According to Western media, Wang was well known for "taking high-profile positions on politically sensitive issues."

The expert said that Wang's preaching exceeded the level of religious belief and interfered in politics. 

Western countries maliciously hyped up Wang's case and aimed to serve political interests, the expert said. 

Countries like the US have tried to split Chinese society, and also used religion as one of its tools to attack China amid the growth of China's international strength, the expert said. 

Newspaper headline: Unregistered pastor convicted for illegal activities

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