|L-R: Bob Fu, Zhang Kai and Jonathan
Silvers, senior assistant to then-Speaker
of the House Nancy Pelosi, pose for a
photo. Zhang was part of a delegation
China Aid hosted in Washington, D.C.
(Photo: China Aid)
By Rachel Ritchie
(Wenzhou, Zhejiang—Sept. 1, 2015) Authorities in the Chinese coastal Zhejiang province denied a request to meet today made by lawyers representing Zhang Kai, a well-known human rights defense lawyer, who has been in detention since Aug. 25.
A request made by Li Guisheng, the lawyer representing Zhang, and Li Baiguang and Liu Peifu, the lawyers representing Zhang’s assistant Liu Peng, was denied, according to Yang Xingquan, the director of Xinqiao Law Firm where Zhang Kai works.
China Aid also learned that in addition to Liu Peng, another of Zhang’s assistants, Fang Xiangui, was detained on Aug. 25 when police climbed the walls of Xialing Church where the group was working. However, Fang is facing a lesser charge and is detained in a local detention center. Authorities charged Zhang and Liu Peng with “endangering national security” and “gathering a crowd to disturb public order.”
Yesterday, China Aid learned that authorities will hold Zhang and Liu Peng in a black jail for six months. It is worth noting that torture is common in black jails.
When asked to explain the difference in sentences for Zhang, Liu Peng and Fang, Yang Xingquan noted that being held in a black jail is stricter as communication in all forms, physical, written or verbal, is forbidden and that conditions in black jails tend to be much worse than those in detention centers.
Zhang Kai has represented more than 100 churches throughout Wenzhou since the province-wide “Three Rectifications and One Demolition” campaign, which has affected as many as 1,200 churches, began in early 2014. In July 2015, Zhang compiled and disturbed a “Cross Activists’ Handbook,” which details how churches can use China’s own constitution to defend their churches and crosses against demolition.