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Henan pastor's trial resumes with little cooperation from court; pastor's daughter held in black jail

Friday, May 2, 2014

Pastor Zhang Shaojie in an undated photo.
(Photo courtesy of the Zhang family)
China Aid Association

(Nanle County, Henan—May 2, 2014) The trial of a detained Three-Self pastor in central China’s Henan province resumed on Tuesday with new defense lawyers in place; meanwhile, the pastor’s daughter had been taken to a black jail.

Pastor Zhang Shaojie’s trial, after much delay, began on April 10. The hearing that day ended with Zhang Shaojie firing his lawyers, Zhao Yonglin and Liu Weiguo, out of desperation caused by the unjust situation created by the court (see http://www.chinaaid.org/2014/04/tspm-pastors-trial-in-henan-adjourned.html and http://www.chinaaid.org/2014/04/tspm-pastor-hires-new-lawyers-trial-to.html).

The prosecution submitted four written records as evidence against Zhang Shaojie; however, none of the witnesses who allegedly gave the statements were present in court despite requests from the defense for their attendance. In addition, the written records are said to have been obtained while the witnesses were held in a black jail, and the police signatures on one of the records, which require two police signatures, appeared to have been signed by one person.

When the trial resumed Tuesday morning, Zhang Shaojie’s new lawyers, Zhang Xinyun and Li Dunyong requested that 10 witnesses be summoned to the hearing, but the judge rejected the request.

Included in the 10 requested witnesses was Li Cairen, a believer detained in an illegal detention center. Li is the victim, according to the procuatorate, of Zhang Shaojie’s alleged fraud charge, in which he supposedly swindled Li out of 700,000 yuan (US$111,000). The charges stem from Zhang Shaojie having helped Li Cairen negotiate a settlement when her son was killed in an accident in 2009 (see http://www.chinaaid.org/2014/01/exclusive-identity-of-12-detained-nanle.html and http://www.chinaaid.org/2014/02/pastors-trial-postponed-story-behind.html).

“Compared to last time, they are more resolute and not friendly,” Zhang Lingxin, Zhang Shaojie’s daughter, said. Zhang Lingxin was one of two relatives allowed in the courtroom, which seated approximately 20 people.

“My father [would] say something in court, but he was always interrupted. Sometimes, my father wanted to say that certain things were not what he meant… He was interrupted by the chief judge when he wanted to explain,” Zhang Lingxin said.

“My father’s condition is not very well. He looked dispirited and more emaciated that the last time I saw him,” Zhang Lingxin told China Aid.

When the trial was adjourned at 8 p.m., Li Dunyong said that authentication had been completed and the trial would resume the following morning. “Zhang Shaojie performed well in court, and he tried his best to defend himself.”

Believers reported that the local police had sealed roads accessing the courthouse, just like they did on April 10. Also, church members were visited by police in their homes and told not to leave their homes during the trial.

China Aid also learned that, prior to her father’s trial, Zhang Huixin, Zhang Shaojie’s oldest daughter, had been taken to a black jail. Before that, Zhang Huixin had been at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing on April 25, where she was forcibly removed from the building and became unconscious during her ejection. Details about the events at the U.S. Embassy and Zhang Huixin’s subsequent detention are limited at this time.

China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
Website: www.chinaaid.org