Giving hope to persecuted Christians since 1995
Select Page

ICC Note: Pastor Zhang Shaojie of the Nanle County Christian Church was arrested back in November after local authorities launched a crack down his congregation. Initially, nearly two dozen Christians were arrested in the crackdown. Most have been released but church members continue to be harassed, intimidated, and blocked from meeting at their church. Meanwhile Pastor Shaojie’s trial has now been indefinitely postponed as he remains imprisoned. 
4/17/2014 China (CSW) – The trial of Chinese Pastor Zhang Shaojie began on 10 April in Nanle County, Henan Province, but court proceedings were later suspended indefinitely, according to reports by China Aid, after Zhang’s lawyers were detained and he had to dismiss them from his case.
According to a statement issued by Zhang’s family on 11 April, the decision to dismiss the lawyers was taken following concerns that they were at risk of losing their licences. Nanle County was subject to a heavy police presence on the day of the trial; only two members of Zhang’s family were permitted to attend, and a US Embassy official was reportedly barred from the court room. China Aid also reports that on 9 April, Zhang’s daughter Zhang Huixin was taken to Nanle County Public Security Bureau for “interrogation” along with her one year-old daughter and mother, Zhang’s wife.
Zhang Shaojie has been charged with “fraud” and “disturbing public order”. The pastor, who belongs to the Nanle County Christian Church under the state-sanctioned Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM), was detained on 16 November 2013 without any formal documentation after church members petitioned a higher authority about a land dispute involving the church. Over 20 church members were also detained; as of 15 January China Aid reported that nine church members remained in detention and three more were missing after being taken into police custody.
During court proceedings, Lawyer Xia Jun questioned witness statements against Pastor Zhang, alleging that the statement of at least one witness was taken under duress, and raised concerns about the rule of law.
In another case raising concerns about rule of law and freedom of religion or belief, lawyers Jiang Tianyong, Tang Jitian, Wang Cheng and Zhang Junjie have issued a declaration accusing the authorities of illegal detention and torture. Christian Solidarity Worldwide previously reported the lawyers’ detention on 21 March 2014, along with “many other citizens”, following an attempt to visit Qinglongshan Farm in Heilongjiang, believed to be an illegal detention centre or black jail holding a variety of people, including unregistered church Christians. Zhang Junjie was released after five days; the other three lawyers were released on 6 April after serving 15-day administrative sentences. Upon their release, Jiang Tianyong and Wang Cheng have both been closely watched and harassed by police, and Wang’s child has reportedly been threatened with a ban from attending school in Zhejiang.

[Full Story]