Pastor Zhang Shaojie of Nanle County Christian Church in Henan Province, is currently serving a 12-year prison term for “gathering a crowd to disrupt the public order” and a fabricated fraud charge.
Pastor Zhang was initially detained on Nov. 16, 2013, when authorities asked to meet with him at his church. Instead, authorities bound Zhang, who served as the local head of the China Christian Council and Three-Self Patriotic Movement, and took him into custody.
In the week around Zhang’s detention, authorities detain more than 20 church members, related to a land dispute between the church and the Nanle county government. Zhang’s daughter, her husband and their baby fled the area to avoid arrest, and she later told China Aid that she’d received more than 10 threatening phone calls. Callers threatened to “wipe out her entire family” if she continued to speak out about the church.
Zhang was sentenced to 12 years in prison on July 4, 2014, and his August appeal to a higher court was rejected. Zhang was 49 when he was arrested.
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