Chinese lawyers stage hunger strike

By Neasa MacErlean

13 December 2013 at 09:17 BST

Fifteen Chinese lawyers have begun a hunger strike in protest at not being able to meet with a Christian pastor who has been arrested and detained on charges of 'obstructing official business'.

Henan province

The lawyers are trying to get to see Zhang Shaojie, the pastor, and some of his aides who are being held by the authorities in Nanle county in Henan. Mr Zhang is accused, they say, of resisting attempts by the local authorities to hand over land belonging to the search. Lawyer Liu Weiguo said: 'We strongly believe that this is a clear case of persecution of a religious group.' He said it was unusual for a crackdown to happen on a state-approved church. He also said that the police were breaking the law by not letting the detainees see lawyers. 

Vaguely worded

The 'obstructing official business' charge, say the lawyers is a vaguely-worded one which has recently been used with cases of a political motivation. Source: ABC News


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