|Zhang Xiuhong (center)
(Guiyang, Guizhou—Aug. 7, 2017) A wrongly imprisoned church accountant who faced a hefty sentence went free a few days ago, her faith fortified by her experiences.
Authorities released Zhang Xiuhong, Huoshi Church’s accountant and chairwoman of the board of deacons, after holding her in prison for more than two years on a falsified “illegal business operations” charge. Zhang was taken into police custody on July 28, 2015, after she allegedly used a cash register in a beauty shop to withdraw church funds. Government officials formalized her arrest on Sept. 1, 2015, and tried her on Jan. 23, 2017. Originally, she received a five-year sentence, but after she appealed, the court reduced it to three years’ incarceration with a five-year probation.
According to reports, Zhang is even stronger in her faith than before and shared her Christian beliefs with many prisoners in her cell. In March, Zhang penned a poem describing the hardships she faced in prison and concluding that she “enjoyed the bounty of grace because of my trust in the Lord who called me and brought me unspeakable glory and joy.”
ChinaAid exposes abuses, such as those suffered by Zhang Xiuhong, in order to stand in solidarity with persecuted Christians and promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law.