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ICC NOTE: The release of pastor Zhang Chongzhu is one for celebration as another one of God’s children arrested and accused of crimes merely for being a Christian is free. Pastor Zhang was detained in September 2015 for his opposition to the cross demolition campaign. Charges handed to pastor Zhang were the same as noted Christian rights lawyer Zhang Kai who was recently released as well prior to president Xi Jinping’s visit to the United States in April. Countless other pastors, church leaders, activists, and members remain in detention with many waiting to receive an official charge. 

5/10/2016 Zhejiang, China (China Aid) – The pastor of a state-run church in China’s coastal Zhejiang province was released at noon today after an eight-month detention.

Authorities took Zhang Chongzhu, the pastor of Pyongyang Three-Self Patriotic Movement Church into custody on Sept. 8, 2015, after he spent most of the year resisting a government-backed cross demolition campaign and charged him with “stealing, spying, buying, or illegally providing state secrets or intelligence to entities outside China.”

This same charge was given to Zhang Kai, a human rights lawyer who legally defended churches affected by demolition efforts. Both men had been scheduled to meet with the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Religious Freedom, David Saperstein, causing members of Zhang Chongzhu’s church to suspect a correlation between this meeting and his detention.

China Aid will continue to update this case as more information becomes available.

China Aid reports on cases such as that of Zhang Chongzhu in order to expose abuses and promote religious freedom and rule of law in China.

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