Christian human rights lawyer fears re-arrest after near death in jail



Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Zhang Kai
ChinaAid

(Hohhot, Inner Mongolia—March 27, 2018) Renowned Chinese human rights lawyer and Christian Zhang Kai fears that he may face a second imprisonment on account of his legal defense of churches that faced cross demolition.

According to two social media posts dated March 21, a prosecutor from Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, summoned Zhang from his home in Inner Mongolia to the city for interrogation. Zhang previously lived in Wenzhou, where he worked defending approximately 100 churches from a province-wide “beautification” campaign which focused on destroying church crosses. Zhang was taken into police custody along with two of his assistants on Aug. 25, 2015 and spent six months under “residential surveillance at an undisclosed location,” otherwise known as a “black jail.” During this time, his friends, family, and legal team had no contact with him.

On Feb. 25, 2016, Zhang resurfaced on a public broadcast, where authorities forced him to confess to the charges of “gathering a crowd to disturb public order” and “stealing, spying, buying and illegally providing state secrets and intelligence to entities outside of China.” Days later, he received a criminal detention sentence, which was cut short when he was released on bail on March 23. He has since lived with his parents in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, where he has been under house arrest and summoned to speak to officials numerous times.

Zhang revealed in a statement on March 24, 2018 that the torture in jail was unbearable, and “Like rats, criminals had no dignity, and I almost died.”

This post, as well as others from Zhang, have been translated and reproduced in their entirety below.

Fearing that he might be arrested again, Zhang wrote, “1. I admit that my body is weak. If I am arrested again, I may not be able to endure the detention. All interviews and videos taped after my detention cannot represent my real opinions (Editor’s note: Zhang says this because many prisoners of conscience are tortured until they confess to their alleged crimes by authorities wishing to frame them). I will try to hold on. 2. I will not fire the lawyer that my parents and I commissioned unless I am threatened and tortured (Editor’s note: Chinese prisoners of conscience are often forced to fire the lawyers of their choosing in favor of lawyers with government sympathies). 3. I did not commit any crime. The only reason I am persecuted is that I helped the churches to safeguard their legal rights during the cross demolition movement in Wenzhou. 4. I hope the (Christian) brothers and sisters from the church can take care of my parents and visit them frequently (in the eventof my arrest).”

ChinaAid exposes abuses, such as those experienced by Zhang Kai, in order to stand in solidarity with persecuted Christians. ChinaAid encourages others to join in taking a stand for human rights, religious freedom, and rule of law.



March 24, 2018

Two factors account for my confession in the Wenzhou case: a) The torture in jail is intolerable. Like rats, criminals had no dignity, and I almost died; b) I love my wife and my daughter and did not want to be separated from them after I was released. A new criminal procedure code started in Zhejiang Province. The first public security stage is residential surveillance, and then a release from custody. The procuratorate also releases people from custody and then subjects them to residential surveillance. They have been restricting my freedom for three years. There is no precedent for this in the history of Chinese criminal procedure. My wife, daughter, and I have not seen each other for three years, either. Although my wife chastised me by publishing articles, I believe that she was manipulated into doing it even though she was not willing.

I would like to post a request, as I was summoned by the procuratorate in Ouhai, Wenzhou: Friends, please take care of my parents if I am detained again. The only reason why I would be arrested is that I helped churches secure their rights during the cross crackdown in Wenzhou. It is because of my ideals of law and my faith’s compassion that I served the church as a defense lawyer for ten years and assisted several hundred churches. Remember me in your prayers, brothers and sisters! I have no clue whether I can endure violence and intimidation, but I will make an effort. Meanwhile, I have a word for the perpetrator: History has witnessed that none of those standing against God and the Church ended up well. I meant to focus on reading and writing at home and stay away from the mundane world. Nevertheless, you (government officials) have relentlessly harassed and hurt me so that I am sick of life, but I will never commit suicide. I am counting all evils you have done so far.

Zhang Kai, Lawyer

March 21, 2018

At noon on March 21, a prosecutor from Ouhai, Wenzhou called and summoned me to Wenzhou for interrogation. During the operation of removing crosses in Wenzhou, the government put me residential surveillance. After I was bailed out at the procuratorate, the government now again put me under residential surveillance. I have lost freedom in three days. Brothers and sisters, please pray for me!

Undated

Please spread this piece of text if I am arrested: 1. I admit that my body is weak. If I am arrested again, I may not be able to endure the detention. All interviews and videos taped after my detention cannot represent my real opinions. I will try to hold on. 2. I will not fire the lawyer that my parents and I commissioned unless I am threatened and tortured. 3. I did not commit any crime. The only reason I am persecuted is that I helped the churches to safeguard their legal rights during the cross demolition movement in Wenzhou. 4. I hope the (Christian) brothers and sisters from the church can take care of my parents and visit them frequently (in the case of my arrest).


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