Pastor Zhang Shaojie: China’s State Sanctioned Criminal

Laura MurrayStarred Page By Laura Murray, 29th Oct 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>News>Politics

State sanctioned and legal, Pastor Zhang has been falsely accused and convicted for crimes he didn't commit. Why? Because he refused to sell his legally owned land to the local government.

The Arrest

Name: Zhang Shaojie
Occupation: Pastor, state sanctioned
Location: Nanle County, Henan Province, China
Charges: Fraud, Gathering a crowd to disturb public order
Sentence: 12 years in prison, 100,000 yuan (US $16,000)
Date of Sentence: July 4, 2014

On November 16, 2013, along with 23 other church members, Pastor Zhang was detained following a dispute with local Communist Party officials who were trying to seize the church’s land.

Fourteen days later, officials issued a notice that stated the church building was in danger of collapsing and the congregation was no longer allowed to use the building. The congregations moved its services to a pre-approved site in the forest on December 1. Although the government had approved this site (as well as the original church site), the members were physically and verbally abused by officials. The church changed locations again, but was told to return to the original church building where over 100 people intervened to halt the service.

In mid-December, the lawyers for the detained church members went on a hunger strike in protest against the government’s refusal to allow them access to their clients. The detainees include elderly and disabled persons as well as parents of young children.

Pastor Zhang was charged, and convicted, of fraud and gathering a crowd to disturb public order. The fraud charge came when Pastor Zhang helped a woman negotiate a compensation package when her son was killed in a work-related accident. Authorities accuse Pastor Zhang of blackmailing the woman. However, the woman was not allowed to appear in court, the defense lawyers were not allowed to speak to her, and she has been held in a black jail (extra-legal detention center). Pastor Zhang’s lawyers believe that the woman’s testimony was coerced.

The Nanle County government claims that this is a land dispute. However, none of the charges have anything to do with land. The church refused, and continues to refuse, to relinquish its legally acquired land. The church had drawn up plans for a Bible school, new church building, and ministry center. However, the local government desires to sell the property to developers. When Pastor Zhang and some church members decided to go to Beijing over the issue, they were prevented by the local government and then, shortly thereafter, they were arrested.

Post Conviction

Pastor Zhang was sentenced to 12 years in prison and was given a fine. Zhang Yunyun, Pastor Zhang’s daughter, has stated that the police kept the congregation from attending the sentencing. “A lot of the congregation had planned to go to the courtroom, but a lot were confined to their homes by plainclothes police.”

The authorities have now laid claim to Pastor Zhang’s house, posting an eviction notice for not paying his fine. Although one of his daughters and her husband were able to escape to the US, the rest of his family is still living in his home. This includes his 80 year old father and 78 year old mother, his disabled wife, and his youngest daughter and her husband. The notice was posted to their front door while they attended church service.

It was once the case that China would only persecute those churches that were underground, not having legal status. But no more. It is now going after those that are government sanctioned, legal, and on the up-and-up. Pastor Zhang, falsely accused and falsely imprisoned, will continue to suffer as his family and church suffer for the wrongs he never committed.

About the Author

Laura left government service as an intelligence analyst on crime, drugs, and terrorism, to pursue writing. She started analyzing Christian persecution around the world and became a de facto expert on the subject. Laura strives to relate hard-to-get, complex information to her readers. Creating her own databases of information and working hard to create world wide networking partners, she is able to provide timely and detailed analysis on the issue. She also provides a one-stop-shop for prisoner information, persecuted stories, statistical analysis, and more. To connect with her via social media and/or to see more of her work, go to her website.

Tags

Beijing, China, Christian Persecution, Christian Prisoners, Christians, Demolition, Eviction, Henan Province, Nanle County, Pastor, Persecution, Prisoner, Zhang

Meet the author

author avatar Laura Murray
My passions in writing are in Christian persecution and food/health. I also love to pursue topics in terrorism and intelligence as my experience and education are in these areas.

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Comments

author avatar Lucie Christine
30th Oct 2014 (#)

A fair article about a courageous man. That's the black side of the hegemon which makes the world shiver.

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author avatar Lucie Christine
31st Oct 2014 (#)

I had a look on your website. The fact that it's possible to write to prisoners reminds me of Amnesty International. Does your site work like Amnesty?

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author avatar Laura Murray
31st Oct 2014 (#)

Lucie, I take information from Amnesty International, as well as many other organizations, and put it in one place for people to see. Every organization has access to different people and different information. My goal is to take all of the information and make a one-stop place for it. When an organization has special requirements, those are there as well. Many people want to write prisoners, but don't have the time to go to each and every organization. This way, they can go to one webpage and get all the information. I hope that makes sense. :)

My goal as a writer (and as an author as I am working on eBooks on Christian persecution) is to bring together all the disparate pieces of information into one piece of work or one website.

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author avatar Lucie Christine
31st Oct 2014 (#)

Ok I understand, that's well done and pragmatic. Regards

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