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BosNewsLife – A prominent Christian writer and church historian who spend two years in a labor camp after investigating persecution and refusing to deny his faith in Christ has been released, a religious rights group announced Tuesday, September 27. The US-based Voice Of the Martyrs (VOM) said Chinese Christian Zhang Yi-nan was released from the Ping Ding Shan City Bailou Labor Camp in Henan Province , China on Sunday morning, September 25.

“Zhang’s wife, Ding Guizhen, and their son, Zhang Kairi, were waiting for him at the steel gate of the prison camp, but were not immediately allowed to welcome him home,” VOM said in a message to BosNewsLife.

Zhang had completed two years of “re-education through labor” before being escorted out of the camp by ten policemen, the group said, citing its sources in the region.

However “instead of being taken immediately home, he was first taken to the Lushan County Police Station, where he was “instructed” about what he should not tell or do following his release. Police reportedly told him that he was “very defiant,” because he wouldn’t admit his “mistakes”—choosing to be a Christian and to be a part of an unregistered house church,” VOM added.

When he finally arrived home later Sunday, September 26, his first activity was to watch the video documentary The Cross: Jesus in China , the organization claimed. “Compared to the testimony of Pastor Allen Yuan and Wang Mingdao, my suffering is nothing,” Zhang said in a statement released by VOM.

“Both of them were imprisoned for about 20 years for the sake of the gospel. I am just so privileged to taste a little bit of the Lord’s cross,” he reportedly said.

Zhang was arrested along with Christian Xiao Bi-guang on September 26, 2003 and charged with “subverting the Chinese government and socialist order.” Xiao was released six weeks later but security officials kept Zhang saying he “doesn’t have a criminal problem, he has a mind problem. He is too superstitious,” VOM said.

Altough Zhang was “thankful to all those who had prayed for him during his incarceration, and lobbied the Chinese government on his behalf” he “also asked for prayer for two other Christian brothers still being held at the labor camp,” the organization reported.

“Because of your prayers and God’s mercy,” Zhang said, “I could come out of the prison without any resentment or hatred toward the Chinese authorities. In fact, I have more compassion for those who do not know the love of God.”

Zhang was a writer and Chinese church historian, and had interviewed Chinese Christians to document their stories of suffering and persecution. “We praise God for sustaining this faithful servant during two years of difficult labor,” VOM Spokesman Todd Nettleton in a message to BosNewsLife. “We also thank all those who prayed for him and wrote letters on his behalf.”

He said 2,700 people composed and printed letters of encouragement to him in prison. “Authorities told Zhang he should have received a much longer sentence for his ‘crimes’ but because his case became known internationally he was given only two years in the labor camp.”…[Go To Full Story]