(Stock photo courtesy of Zhang Kai)
(Hohhot, Inner Mongolia—Dec. 30, 2016) After spending two days in police custody, Christian human rights lawyer Zhang Kai was allowed to return to his parents’ home in China’s northern Inner Mongolia yesterday.
On the morning of Dec. 27, officials from various public security bureaus from across the country summoned him to his local police station. Zhang Kai’s sister, Zhang Yan, claimed that he often receives these summons, since he is currently released on bail after his previous detention, but this time, they kept him for 48 hours, concerning the family when he failed to return home.
When his mother posted an urgent call for the online community to pay attention to her son’s case, the news spread, and one social media user speculated: “They might do something like they did to Yang Hua and frame him with something involving state secrets and use this as a means to arrest him.”
Zhang Yan said her brother has been trying to maintain a low profile so as not to cause further trouble for himself and spends most of his time reading and taking care of his fish. None of his actions warrant police summons.
Additionally, she said, “[Officials from the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau] came to [my] work unit and met with [my] manager, saying they wanted to have a conversation with me. In the end, we didn’t talk, because I refused. They said they had given [my] work unit’s leader identification … but I didn’t see any identification, and I certainly would not cooperate with them videotaping me. I suggested that ‘If you videotape me, I will not talk to you.’ They then put away [the video equipment].”
Zhang Kai was released sometime before 12:30 p.m. BST.
Zhang Kai was first detained a year and a half ago, when on the night of Aug. 25, 2015, government personnel broke into a church compound in Zhejiang province and apprehended him and his two assistants, who were staying in the building while providing legal assistance to approximately 100 churches affected by a cross demolition campaign.
For six months, Zhang Kai was held under “residential surveillance in an undisclosed location,” which is the Chinese government’s official term for what is otherwise known as a “black jail,” an off-record, undisclosed facility to hold prisoners with no oversight. He resurfaced on Feb. 25, when officials forced him to confess to his “crimes” on state-run television. Zhejiang authorities subsequently charged him with “endangering state secrets” and “gathering a crowd to disturb public order” and criminally detained. On March 23, he was released on bail.
China Aid exposes abuses, such as those suffered by Zhang Kai, in order to promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law.