02/26/2016, 09.14
CHINA
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Zhejiang, Zhang Kai, the "defender of the crosses", accused of being a "criminal mastermind"

The Christian lawyer is known for his defense in court of the churches that are threatened with demolition or removal of the crosses. He had “disappeared" for several months. Now he is accused by state media of organizing illegal religious meetings, accepting money and training from foreigners to overthrow the government, having disturbed public order.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - The Chinese state media have accused Zhang Kai, a lawyer and Christian activist for human rights, of being "the mastermind behind a series of illegal religious meetings". Zhang, who has represented in court the Christian churches who are fighting against the campaign of the Communist Party to take down their crosses, was seized by security officials last August 2015.

The lawyer disappeared from the city of Wenzhou, known as "the Jerusalem of China" for its large Christian population: his whereabouts has been unknown since the time of arrest.

The state-run Wenzhou Online web site published an article stating that public safety has identified Zhang as the "mastermind" behind a series of "illegal religious meetings," citing information coming from the City Public Security. The text also accused Zhang of "accepting a foreign training, encouraging people to challenge the government", and "scamming people for money."

The site describes Zhang as a "criminal suspect" and cites an alleged confession: "I violated national law, disrupted social order, endangered national security and violated the professional code of conduct for lawyers,” it cited Zhang as saying. “I also warn those so-called human rights lawyers to take me as a warning and not collude with foreigners, take money from foreign organisations or be engaged in activities that break the law or harm national security and interests"

Zhang Kai has organized a legal team of over 30 people to deal with religious cases in the province of Zhejiang. The lawyer is 37 years old and was a lawyer of the Xinqiao Beijing law firm. At the height of the campaign for the demolition of crosses in Zhejiang, of all the human rights lawyers in China Zhang was the most active and the most involved.

Beginning in August of 2014, when he took on the case of the pastor of Salvation Church in Wenzhou, the Reverend Huang Yizi, he moved to Wenzhou and became a consultant in many cases related to the demolition of crosses.

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