A pastor is facing a ten-year prison sentence on what his lawyers are calling a ‘trumped-up charge’, the Telegraph has reported.
According to the news report, 40-year-old Huang Yizi, from Wenzhou in Zhejiang province, Eastern China, had been outspoken regarding the demolition of a church.
Reports from supporters claim that Pastor Huang was taken forcibly from his home by plain-clothes police officers. His lawyers say the allegation against him, of ‘gathering to assault a state organ’, has often been used by the Chinese authorities to silence critics of the government.
According to Wang Hongjie, a lawyer representing the pastor, ‘The government has taken a number of steps to restrict the human rights of Christians in this region and bringing Pastor Huang under criminal detention is the most extreme’.
Pastor Huang’s detention follows security agents using cattle prods against Christians resisting the removal of a cross from their church. As part of the Chinese authorities’ crackdown on Christianity, some 200 churches have been demolished.