Chinese Church Historian Released from Labor Camp


Mr. Zhang Yinan, a well know Chinese church historian, after serving a two-year term in a labor camp, was released on September 25

Mr. Zhang was escorted out of the camp by ten police officers. Instead of letting him go home, they first took him to a police station, where he was "instructed" as to what he may or may not say to the outside world. According to CAA's reliable source, the local PSB refused to return Zhang's ID card upon his release in order to restrict his travel. Mr. Zhang, a 47-year-old Christian in central Henan Province, was arrested in September 2003 on the charge of "attempting to subvert the government and socialist system", and later sentenced to two years reeducation through labor. As a church leader he used to be very active in promoting the unity of the Chinese house church movement, through which he gained respect from the Christian circle, as well as suspicions from the Chinese government. China Aid Association promptly reported the case of Mr. Zhang after he was arrested and sentenced, thus catching the attention of the international community from the very beginning. On November 26, 2004, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention of the Commission on Human Rights of the United Nations came to the conclusion that the deprivation of liberty of Mr. Zhang is arbitrary, as being in contravention of Article 9, 19 and 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, requested the Chinese government take the necessary steps to remedy the situation. On September 14, right before his scheduled release, Mr. Zhang was interrogated by three agents of the State Security Bureau of the City of Zhengzhou, who told him he received his two-year term was completely out of international pressure. "The timely release of Mr. Zhang reflects the fact that the international community can be mobilized to urge the Chinese government to honor its commitment on the rule of law and international covenants" said Bob Fu, CAA president, "We urge the Chinese government to release all the prisoners of conscience like Mr. Zhang."

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