Chinese pastor says he is 'grateful' for prison sentence

by Int. Editor
on 13 October 2014
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A Chinese pastor has said he is "grateful" for the opportunity to go to jail as he awaits his prison sentence. Huang Yizi, 40, of Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, could face up to seven years in jail. He is accused of "gathering to assault a state organ," and was detained on August 2 for "gathering crowds to disturb social order"

According to local reports, Pastor Huang was taken from his home by police just over a week after an attack on Sjuitou Salvation Church in Wenzhou.

At 3am local time on 21 July, around 400 police officers attempted to move a cross from the roof of the church, resulting in a bloody clash with members who were guarding the building. Police reportedly used iron batons to beat those who stood in their way, and one congregant suffered a fractured skull.

The cross was later removed from the church.

Pastor Huang was arrested for his apparent role in encouraging church members to resist the police and for criticising police violence on his blog, the Telegraph reports. He said the crackdown on churches was an example of "severe persecution" and an "insult" to China's Christians. According to his layer, Zhang Kai, Pastor Huang now says he is "grateful that God has given him the chance to serve time in the detention centre".

"As a defence lawyer and judging from the evidence so far I don't think Huang's actions constituted any crime. Personally, I believe Huang's arrest is directly related to the general crackdown on churches in Zhejiang," he said. It is still unknown when Pastor Huang's trial will be held.

Salvation Church is just one of hundreds to be targeted in Zhejiang province. At least 360 have already been completely or partially demolished, ostensibly as a result of defying building regulations.

Christians, however, believe they are being specifically targeted by the Communist Government which sees Christianity as a rival to its power.

Pastor Huang told the South China Morning Post in July that he "will be put in jail one day" for speaking out against the Chinese government's campaign against Christians.

"I have decided to sacrifice for my beliefs. I am serious. I have been prepared for the worst since I posted many messages opposing the authorities' campaign to remove churches and crosses," he said.

Last week, former underground church pastor, Bob Fu, told us that prison sentences are common for "faithful follower[s] of Jesus" in China, and many do view them as a blessing.

"Prison is a mission many hungry and thirsty souls waiting to listen to the Gospel," he said.

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