ICC Note: It is hard to imagine how the father of Zhang Kai has felt since his son’s ‘disappearance’ at the hands of provincial government authorities. Zhang Kai had been representing the Christian churches in Wenzhou fighting against the government’s campaign to dismantle church crosses, a campaign of intimidation and harassment.
By Brynne Lawrence, Carolyn Song, and Ava Collins
10/05/2015 China (China Aid)
The father of noted human rights lawyer Zhang Kai has released a testimony regarding his son’s work defending churches against cross demolitions in China’s coastal Zhejiang. Within are his reactions to his son’s mission and his difficulty in finding information regarding his son’s condition or secretive detention. A translation of his testimony can be found below:
Zhang Kai and two colleagues of his were taken away in the dead of night on Aug. 25. As Zhang Kai’s father, I was informed the next day by asking his lawyer friends. It is shocking, confusing and unbelievable. Just the day before, Zhang Kai was happily telling me over the phone: “Today churches and Wenzhou local authorities reached a consensus; crosses will not be demolished anymore!”
In a moment of half-belief, half-doubt, Yang Xingquan, the director of Zhang Kai’s Beijing Xinqiao Lawyers’ Affairs, released a “Stern Statement” on Aug. 26, strongly protesting Wenzhou authorities’ arrests of legal lawyers. Many lawyers and religious people I didn’t know expressed their comfort and concern towards me and said they would like to fight for Zhang Kai’s rights, but the development of the events remains unknown. I signed Lawyer Li Guisheng from Guizhou Hengqian Law Firms to represent Zhang Kai, and our whole family is waiting for the official notice and response from Wenzhou police, but nothing is known.
We feel that we cannot wait to hope again! On Aug. 31, I departed on a journey to look for my son in Wenzhou. Wenzhou is not a small city, and it was very hard to find anything about Zhang Kai’s current situation there. Before I came, lawyers from many places had already hurried to Wenzhou. They all wished to see Zhang Kai but could not. They wanted to know his specific situation, but police did not grant them this request or inform them.
On Sept. 2 at 11 a.m., under the accompaniment of lawyers, I went to Wenzhou’s police station and met briefly with two sergeants to ask questions.
I asked what time Zhang Kai was taken, to what location, and for what reason. They told me: “Zhang Kai is suspected of gathering a crowed to disturb social order and is a threat to national security. The police already sent you a notice on the 27th.”
I said, “As of today, I haven’t received the department’s notice. Where are you keeping him? Can I see him? What problem is he suspected of?”
“The place he’s being detained is a secret,” they said. “Neither you nor lawyers can see him. His information will be made public after the investigation.” Then they added, “You should teach your son better. He can’t behave disruptively. Your coming here is useless. If you have anything else to discuss, you can get a lawyer after this.”