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Zhejiang Christians publish letter condemning lawyer's detention

Friday, March 11, 2016

Zhang Kai
Stock photo courtesy of Zhang Kai
China Aid
By Brynne Lawrence

(Wenzhou, Zhejiang—March 11, 2016) A group of Christians wrote a letter to church members in China’s coastal Zhejiang province on March 1 in order to encourage them following the forced confession of a prominent human rights lawyer.

In the letter, they condemned the coerced confession of Zhang Kai, which was broadcast on state television on Feb. 26. Zhang, a Christian human rights lawyer who relocated to Zhejiang in order to defend churches affected by the ongoing cross demolition campaign, was initially taken into police custody on Aug. 25 and held in a “black jail” for a six months. He was criminally detained on March 6.

A translation of the letter can be read in full below.

China Aid exposes religious freedom abuse, such as those experienced by Zhang Kai and Christians in Zhejiang, in order to promote religious freedom and rule of law in China.



Encouragement sent to the churches and Christians in Wenzhou (Zhejiang) regarding “Zhang Kai’s case”

Beloved fathers, brothers and sisters in the Lord and fellow co-workers [who are on] the same path: May the Lord’s favor and peace belong to us! Since February 27, 2014 to today, it has already been two years since Zhejiang province’s large-scale Christian church and cross demolitions. During this period, more than 1,500 churches have had their crosses demolished, many pastors lost their personal freedom and the Church experienced a massive refinement by fire. However, the Lord always opens up a road for us, allowing us to be able to live with endurance (1 Corinthians 10:13). “But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere” (2 Corinthians 2:14).

On February 26, 2016, a disturbing new phenomenon emerged in Wenzhou. Local authorities played the video of “Zhang Kai’s case” on television. They broadcast the scene of our brother, lawyer Zhang Kai, “admitting to his crimes” after six months in custody. At the same time, several brothers who clung to the cross together with Zhang Kai and likewise suffered detention for protecting the cross also appeared on the screen, their interviews having been deliberately edited into material for an “accusation.” We are incapable of reconstructing the true scenario from among [these videos].

We call on the Wenzhou authorities to stop these kinds of televised “confessions,” as well as any coercion or misleading of [a Christian] to “accuse” another Christian, since this violates the principle of rule of law and the practice of conscientious conviction. At the same time, we all solemnly and publicly announce to all churches and Christians in Wenzhou (Zhejiang): Zhang Kai is a devout Christian, committed to Shouwang Church in Beijing. For many years, he has used his legal expertise to assist the church in protecting their own interests, and is the church’s faithful servant.

After Sanjiang Church in the Yongjia District of Wenzhou was destroyed in April 2014, all Wenzhou churches faced the threat of forced cross demolitions, and many of the faithful vigorously rose to protect [the crosses]. Brother Zhang Kai received an invitation from far away and came to start using legal procedures to aid churches in breaking away from their predicaments, altogether limiting crises and effectively curbing the momentum of the cross demolitions. As a result, late at night on August 26, 2015, Zhang Kai was taken away from Xialing Church in Wenzhou’s Lucheng District by authorities and detained until today.

We are witnesses of the crosses’ case and have the responsibility to keep calling on Wenzhou and all Zhejiang churches to maintain their spiritual strength (John 1:4), see through the evil one’s attempts to sow dissension and tricks to fool the faithful. We beseech the Lord to grant us the wisdom to distinguish negative comments about our brother and the courage to refuse to make (Exodus 20:16). These are the duties of God-fearing people.

In order to prevent the historical tragedy of the “denunciation convention,” [which occurred at the] beginning of the century, from re-emerging in the church, we implore every church to respond in prayer, so that the body of Christ will not again undergo suspicion and jealousy or injuriously be torn apart. Refuse to give false testimony, be faithful to the confession of the disciples, and try to fulfill the command to love one another that Jesus Christ bestowed [on us].

If we are used to falsely putting out an accusation because we suffer fear from external coercion, we beseech the Lord to have mercy, pardon us, and put away his rod of wrath. If there is anyone among us who deliberately sells out the Lord or friends, placing humiliation among the church and its followers, this person should receive the Lord’s condemnation. All the churches should guide, encourage, and give warning.

We bear in mind the lessons of the Bible, “…fear God, honor the emperor” (1 Peter 2:17). However, we ought to reject national worship, and, when we are faced with the power of God and the world and we must make a choice, we do not hesitate to declare: “We must obey God rather than human beings!” (Acts 5:29)

In this difficult time, let us all look up and pray with the same heart:

“To you I lift up my eyes,
O you who are enthroned in the heavens!
2 Behold, as the eyes of servants
look to the hand of their master,
as the eyes of a maidservant
to the hand of her mistress,
so our eyes look to the Lord our God,
till he has mercy upon us.

3 Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy upon us,
for we have had more than enough of contempt.
4 Our soul has had more than enough
of the scorn of those who are at ease,
of the contempt of the proud.”

(Psalm 123:1-4)

May the Lord stabilize the faith of us all. Continue to fight the “good fight” (1 Timothy 6:12) [Editor’s note: The original Chinese misattributed this verse as 2 Corinthians 4:7.]; We earnestly request that everyone pray for our brothers, lawyer Zhang Kai, Pastor Zhang Chongzhu, Pastor Gu Yuese, and Pastor Bao Guohua and his wife, as well as the churches and imprisoned pastors. Furthermore, we ardently hope that the Christians in Zhejiang and Wenzhou can be alert and guarded, unite as one, have bravery and wisdom, and be honest, without any falseness. Amen!

In the Lord Jesus,

Co-signers:

Pastor Bao Zhiqing (Longquan Church, Zhejiang)

Chen Jinhan (Divinity School of Chung Chi College theology student)

Chen Daode (Wenzhou preacher/North American Chinese Church)

Pastor Cui Yuese (Agape Church, Beijing)

Chen Aixue (Longwan Church, Wenzhou)

Zeng Miao (Shouwang Church, Beijing)

Sister Fu Qiuhua (Longquan Church, Zhejiang)

Huidi (Catholic Church, Beijing)

Hu Jiangxing (Xinquan Church, Changsha)

Pastor Jin Mingri (Xi’an Church, Beijing)

Ji Mengzi (Wufeng Shipan Church, Cangnan County, Wenzhou/theology student)

Elder Li Meng (Xuanxin Church, Qing Dao)

Lawyer Li Xiaoming (Beijing Church)

Pastor Li Timothy (Jiamei Fuyin Guodu Church)

Pastor Liu Yi (Christ Church, Saint Joseph Parish)

Lin Jingguo (Xiaxi church, Cangnan, Wenzhou)

Li Meng (Huada Christian Association)

Pastor Li Shengfeng (Beijing Municipal Fuxing Church)

Pastor Li Muyi (Guoshu Church, Beijing)

Deacon Li Elijah (Evangelical Formosan Church of South Bay)

Pastor Sun Yong (Hongmin Church, Zhongguan Village, Beijing)

Mao Zhibin (Harvest Seminary theology student)

Wang Saipeng (Divinity School of Chung Chi College theology student)

Wang Xiaodan (Sunrise Evangelical Church, Los Angeles)

Wang Zhenjing (Longwan Church, Wenzhou)

Wang Fang (Shengming Church, Wuhan)

Wang Chaohan (The first church of Tengjiao, Pingyang County, Wenzhou/Wanlong Evangelical Divinity School student)

Pastor Wang Desheng (Anhua Church, Beijing)

Deacon Wu Minluan (Sanjiang Church, Yongjia County, Wenzhou)

Pastor Weihong (Song of Solomon Church, Beijing)

Wu Lingling (Yueqing Church, Wenzhou/Shengshan Church, Beijing)

Xu Kewang (Saint Michael’s Church, a Catholic church, Flushing, New York)

Ye Zhongcheng (Yidali Wenzhou Church)

Yan Jeremiah (Alhambra True Light Presbyterian Church, Los Angeles)

Pastor Yang Xianpan (Grace Homes, Beijing)

Zhang Qingse (The first Tengjiao Church, Pingyang County, Wenzhou)

Zheng Yueguo (Baixiang Church, Yueqing city, Wenzhou/Church of North America)

March 1, 2016


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


"Bob Fu has dedicated his life to bringing freedom of religion to the Chinese people. His story is a testimony to the power of faith and an inspiration to people struggling to break free from oppression."
—Mrs. Laura Bush

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