As part of the government’s broad crackdown on the Living Stone (or Huoshi) Church in Guiyang, China, officials arrested deacon and church accountant Zhang Xiuhong in July 2015.
Zhang was arrested July 28, 2015 after she withdrew church funds from at ATM located in her beauty shop. Officers stopped Zhang and hauled her from her car as she drove near the church building. Her husband was also arrested while returning from a walk with their children, but he was later released. Meanwhile, authorities invaded their home and seized Zhang’s computers, USB drives and hard drives.
Zhang was held and charged with “illegal business operations”. During her interrogation, the interrogator did not ask Zhang questions regarding church business. Instead, he centered his questions on church pastors and other core members. In a trial on February 10, 2017, she was sentenced to five years in prison for these “illegal business operations”.
At least three other Christians are in prison on charges related to the Living Stone Church. Co-founder and pastor Yang Hua was arrested in Dec. 2015 and charged with “divulging state secrets,” along with church members Wang Yao and Yu Lei. The government authorities have also confiscated church property, frozen the church’s bank account, and fined the congregation 7 million yuan ($1,020,200).
The Living Stone Church was founded in 2009 by Yang Hua and Si Tianfu, and it grew to one of the largest churches in Guizhou province. Though it had a membership of nearly 700 people, it is classified as a house church, because it is not part of the government-sanctioned Three-Self Movement.
Zhang Xiuhong is the mother of two children, a son and an adopted daughter, and is wife to Chen Zukai.
**Note: Letters to Zhang will be mailed to her husband, rather than the prison, as requested by VOM contacts.**