|Vittorio Hernandez |||Mar 27, 2015 09:55 PM EDT|
(Photo : cristianodigital.net) Pastor Huang Yizi was meted a 1-year jail sentence for opposing the removal of crosses in Christian churches in China.
Persecution of Christians continues in China, with the latest focus on removing crosses in churches. Huang Yizi, a Christian pastor who opposes the removal of the cross, was accused of gathering crowds to disturb the social order, a euphemism for opposing the destruction of Christian churches and symbols of the faith such as the cross.
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Yizi was ordered jailed for one year, reports the New York Times, because he led in July 2014 local Christians in seeking answers from the county government why it beat 50 residents who tried to prevent the police from taking off the Salvation Church's cross from its exterior.
The police allegedly hit those who stopped it, using iron batons, which resulted in one church member to suffer from a fractured skull.
Yizi again led a big crowd from his congregation to seek answers about the incident one week later. He accused the Chinese government of persecuting and insulting Chinese Christian by removing the crosses.
When Yizi was sentenced on Tuesday, over 500 Christian were outside a county court to show their support for the pastor. Besides the crowd, the watchdog China Aid asked for his release, and it condemned the continued persecution of Christian in the country.
Bob Fu, president and founder of China Aid, said, "Through arbitrary arrest, baseless persecution, and illegal procedures throughout the trial, the case shows once again the worsening situation of religious freedom and the rule of law in China."
Fox estimates that 300 churches in Zhejiang province have been destroyed by the government, and many of these places of Christian worship were forced to remove the cross.
Zhang Kai, the lawyer of the 40-year-old pastor, told the Telegraph that he believes authorities manipulated the trial and they would appeal the decision.
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