The crosses on churches in Zhejiang
are often targeted for demolition.
(Photo: China Aid)
Reported and written in Chinese by Qiao Nong. Translated by Brynne Lawrence. Edited in English by Ava Collins.
(Hangzhou, Zhejiang—Nov. 6, 2015) An independent reporter in the heavily-persecuted Zhejiang province was taken from his home Nov. 3 on “suspicion of subverting state power.”
Zan Aizong, a former reporter and Zhejiang consultant for China Ocean News, was temporarily detained by officers from the National Security Bureau. Zan, who is also a Christian author, posted that his cell phone, computer, and other possessions were confiscated and that he was given court summons on the serious charge of “suspicion of subverting state power.”
Guo Baosheng, a Chinese-American church pastor, posted about the event on Twitter in Chinese: “The home of renowned author Zan Aizong was searched by more than ten police officers today, who said he is suspected of subverting state power. His cell phone, computer and other possessions were all confiscated, and he is temporarily free to return home.”
Guo told China Aid’s reporter Qiao Nong that he believes Zan was targeted because he wrote articles criticizing local officials and spreading news of the forced cross demolitions, which have become unfortunately common in Zhejiang, a large province on China’s eastern coast.
“I would guess that it was something to do with the destruction of crosses in Zhejiang. Zan Aizong cares about public welfare, as well as religious freedom and church demolitions, because he defends the cross. Zhejiang has arrested pastors, lawyers, etc., as well as placing more than 20 other people under arrest or residential surveillance.”
Though Zan was released shortly after being taken, he posted on the Chinese messaging service WeChat that it would be difficult for him to contact the outside world moving forward: “Please ask for the Lord’s mercy. Today, I was accused of suspicion of subverting national security, and my cell phone, computer, etc., were confiscated. After this matter was recorded, I was free to go home for the time being, but I cannot speak and I cannot post on WeChat again. Currently, I can only write papers on technology to make my living.”
Zan’s message went on to thank the officers who searched his house and said that he harbors no ill will towards them: “I would like to thank Jesus Christ for his grace and help, and I would also like to thank the police officers, of whom there were more than 10, who came to my home to search it for many hours. Because of the Lord, I do not have any hatred towards any person, nor do I have an enemy. Because the Bible says God is love, I love all the people in the world. I will not be able to use WeChat often, and can only be reached by email now.”