There has been no update regarding Zhang Shaojie in over two years.
Zhang Shaojie is the pastor of Nanle County Christian Church in China’s central Henan province. He currently serves a 12-year prison term for “gathering a crowd to disrupt the public order” and a fabricated fraud charge.
He was initially detained on November 16, 2013, when authorities asked to meet with him at his church. Instead, authorities bound Zhang, who served as the local head of the China Christian Council and Three-Self Patriotic Movement, and took him into custody.
Authorities detained more than 20 church members, spanning from November 15 to several days after Zhang Shaojie’s detention. The cause of the persecution is said to be a land dispute between the Nanle County government and the church. According to reports, the church sent several groups to Beijing to petition higher authorities regarding the dispute after an unsatisfying outcome at the local level.
Sentenced to 12 years
Heavy persecution of the church continued well into the summer of 2014. On July 4, 2014, Zhang was sentenced to 12 years in prison for his charges despite his lawyers’ arguments, which included the fact that police had essentially kidnapped the alleged victim of Zhang’s fraud case.
In January 2021, the authorities transferred him to Xinmi City Prison in Henan Province. After hearing nothing for several months, Zhang Shaojie’s family received a letter from him. He informed them that he was in good spirits, and officials allowed him to see his family once a month.