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World News

Chinese pastor 'grateful' to be in jail

The detention of 40-year-old preacher Huang Yizi followed clashes between officials, reportedly including some armed with cattle prods, along with Christians who were attempting to stop the removal of their church's cross.

The confrontation took place at Salvation Church in Wenzhou, a city with a large Christian population, and represented a major escalation in tensions over a campaign that has so far affected more than 100 churches.

Zhang Kai, a Beijing-based rights lawyer, who is defending the pastor, met his client on Monday morning but said it was not clear when the trial would be held.

"He seems well. He is grateful that God has given him the chance to serve time in the detention centre," the lawyer told The Telegraph.

A recent photograph of Pastor Huang, obtained separately by the newspaper, shows him wearing handcuffs and a yellow prison uniform emblazoned with the words "Pingyang County Detention Centre".

Other local church leaders and members have also been detained, threatened and placed under surveillance since the campaign began earlier in the year.

China is also in the midst of a major nationwide crackdown on dissent that has seen dozens of government critics, including human rights lawyers, academics, activists and religious leaders, detained or jailed.

Pastor Huang is married and has two children, aged 13 and four.

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