US urges China to immediately release the detained Chinese Christians.
According to media reports, US has insisted that China must instantly release detained Christian human rights activists, lawyers, pastors, and others.
David Saperstein-US envoy for religious freedom, termed the detentions of several Christians and defence lawyer Zhang Kai as “particularly alarming development”. Media reports reveal that David Saperstein was scheduled to meet with Zhang and a number of Christian leaders on August 26, however, these Christians were arrested the day before the scheduled meeting.
It has been recently revealed that Zhang has been sentenced to six months in so called ‘black jail’, along with his assistant Liu Peng. The crime indicted upon them is “endangering state security and disturbing the public order.”
Zhang had been actively representing churches in legal battles in cases against removal of crosses amid a crackdown on churches in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, on the east coast of China.
David Saperstein said, “There can be no excuse for the detention of these religious figures who either met with me or tried to meet with me. These detentions fit into the disturbing pattern of state intimidation of public interest lawyers, internet activists, journalists, religious leaders…They clearly underscore the precariousness of religious life in China.
It is a source of great concern to us and we are calling on the government to immediately release all these human rights activists and religious leaders.”
According to rough estimates, so far about 1,700 churches have been demolished or had their crosses removed in Zhejiang in the past two years. Christians believe that ruling Communist party is becoming increasingly more apprehensive of the influence of Christianity, which is witnessing epic growth in China.