A Chinese pastor who was jailed for opposing China’s crackdown on churches has reportedly been released.
Christian Today reports that Pastor Huang Yizi, from China’s eastern province of Zhejiang, was detained on September 12, 2015 on the charge of “endangering national security.”
Huang had previously served a one year prison sentence for leading a prayer vigil to protest the government’s removal of crosses from churches.
Human rights organization China Aid confirmed Huang’s release, but said the pastor was thin and pale. Huang had been kept in a “black jail”--a prison that has no legal status and where torture is common.
"We are glad pastor Huang is released home for Chinese New Year after being arbitrarily detained for five months in a black jail," China Aid founder and president Bob Fu stated.
However, Fu continued, "Both the previous one year criminal sentence and the past five months detention are absolutely part of political revenge against pastor Huang's public opposition against the barbaric forced demolition of crosses and his effort for organizing true Gospel mission independent of the government controlled religious body, the TSPM [Three Self Patriotic Movement].
"I call upon the Chinese higher authorities to hold accountable of those abusers of power (in its arbitrary nature of pastor Huang's detention) in Zhejiang and restore justice to pastor Huang."
Government persecution of Christians and targeting of churches continues in China, with up to 1,700 churches in Zhejiang being demolished or their crosses forcibly removed as part of a government program to monitor the country's religious activities.
Publication date: February 9, 2016