By Rachel Ritchie
(Wenzhou, Zhejiang—Feb. 25, 2016) Today, on the six-month anniversary of prominent human rights lawyer Zhang Kai’s detention, Chinese media aired footage of the lawyer confessing to disturbing social order and endangering state secrets.
Zhang was apprehended on Aug. 25, 2015, after police climbed the walls of Xialing Church where Zhang and two assistants were working to defend local churches from forced cross demolitions. Today marked six months since Zhang was taken into custody and placed under “residential surveillance at a designated location,” or a “black jail.”
The end of this six-month holding period marked the deadline for authorities to either charge Zhang and officially detain him or release him.
Over the course of his time in black jail, officials refused to let Zhang meet with friends, family or legal representation. His appearance on television today marks the first time he has been seen since police took him away.
(Photo: China Aid)
“Although China Aid was mentioned in the shameful Communist Party of China’s official propaganda in the broadcast as the ‘overseas force supporting Zhang Kai’s legal defense work,’ we will never be intimidated or cease to continue to promote religious freedom for all in China,” said China Aid founder and president, Bob Fu.
Some speculate that the timing of this confession is not an accident, as it coincides with the end of the holding period, and raise the possibility that Zhang was pressured into making edited remarks.
China Aid will continue to monitor Zhang’s situation and report new information as it becomes available.
China Aid reports on human rights and rule of law abuses, like those experienced by Zhang Kai, in order to promote religious freedom and rule of law in China.