BEIJING — A Chinese court has sentenced a Christian pastor to a 15-month prison term for “organizing illegal gatherings.”
Pastor Geng Zejun was arrested Jan. 25 and has been detained since then, reported the human rights organization ChinaAid. He is pastor of Church of the Rock in Ningxia province.
Geng and Church of the Rock, a reformed faith congregation, have resisted being managed by the Three-Self Patriotic Movement Church, which the Chinese Communist Party controls. Even though authorities banned Church of the Rock in December 2019, it has continued to meet.
Police and government officials raided their service Dec. 5, 2021. Geng was accused of “disrupting social order” and detained 15 days. Hao Ying, Geng’s wife, and five others were held 10 days.
On Jan. 4, police again summoned Geng, this time detaining him for “organizing illegal gatherings.”
After Geng refused to plead guilty, Huinong District Court handed down the 15-month sentence, ChinaAid reported.
China is No. 17 on Open Doors’ 2022 World Watch List of places most difficult to be a Christian.