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ICC Note: Prominent Chinese Christian human rights lawyer Zhang Haitao was sentenced to 19-year jail term for “incitement to subvert state power” and spying charges last year. He is a human rights advocate who has criticized the government’s policy towards the mostly Muslim Uyghur ethnic group in Xinjiang. After he was jailed, his wife became target of harassment and threats from the authorities and even family members. With the help of Christian NGO ChinaAid and US government, his wife Li Aijie and toddler son Li Mutian fled China and have safely arrived in Texas.

12/25/2017 Texas (Radio Free Asia) – The wife of jailed rights activist Zhang Haitao, a critic of the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s treatment of the mostly Muslim Uyghur ethnic group, has landed with the couple’s young child in the United States after fleeing China via Thailand, a U.S.-based Christian rights group has said.

Li Aijie “has safely landed in the United States after a rescue operation,” along with the couple’s son Li Mutian, Texas-based ChinaAid said in a statement on its website at the weekend.

Li fled China with her son after being targeted for threats by local authorities after Zhang was handed a 19-year jail term by the Intermediate People’s Court in Urumqi, regional capital of the northwestern region of Xinjiang, on Jan. 15, 2016.

Zhang was found guilty of “incitement to subvert state power” and spying charges after he openly criticized government policy towards the mostly Muslim Uyghur ethnic group in the troubled region.

The prosecution cited cited 69 posts to the Chinese social media platform WeChat and 205 Twitter posts and reweets, as evidence of inciting subversion of state power.

Li, who gave birth to the couple’s son shortly after he was jailed, and was left with no income, relying on relatives for financial support, she told RFA at the time.

But ChinaAid said she faced abuse within her family as well as threats from officials.

“Li, a stalwart advocate for her husband, not only received constant threat by various China security agents but also was beaten by her own relatives for refusing to divorce him,” the group said in a statement.

“Government agents threatened to compromise Li’s brother’s job and interrogated her 80 year-old mother to pressure them into convincing Li to divorce Zhang,” it said.

It said Li had escaped China “covertly,” with the help of ChinaAid and other friends.

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