China: Zhang beaten on first day in labor camp; Christian woman killed

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Chinese Christian Zhang Yi-nan was badly beaten by fellow inmates last Monday at the Ping Ding Shan City Lao Dong Jiao Yang Suo. It was Zhang's first day as an inmate at the "re-education through labor" facility where he is serving a two-year sentence.

A sympathetic official at the camp revealed this information to VOM sources inside China. Zhang was beaten by fellow inmates at the behest of prison guards, who considered the beating to be "Lesson One" in his so-called re-education.

"Zhang Yi-nan is a strong man," said the official, "but he was terribly beaten. His hands were bleeding badly."

Zhang was arrested September 26, and sentenced last weekend to two years of "re-education through labor." His wife was allowed to see him briefly last Monday before he was driven to the labor camp.

"There is no excuse for this welcoming committee for Brother Zhang," said VOM spokesman Todd Nettleton. "Yet this is business-as-usual for Chinese Christians. We urge Christians around the world to pray for Zhang's safety, and that he will have many opportunities to witness for Christ."

The Voice of the Martyrs has also learned the address of the camp, and is urging Christians to send a note of encouragement to Zhang:
Zhang Yi-nan
Ping Ding Shan City Lao Dong Jiao Yang Suo
Pei De School
Ping Ding Shan City, Henan Province, 467300
People's Republic of China

Other sources inside China have confirmed the death of Chinese Christian Zhang Hong-mei. Hong-mei, a 33-year-old woman, was arrested October 29th by local police in Dong Miao Dong village in Jiu Dian Town near Ping Du City in Shandong Province. At 2 p.m. on the day of her arrest, her family was called by police and told to pay a bribe of 3,000 RMB (about $400 US).

The family couldn't raise that money, so at 7 p.m. Hong-mei's husband, Xu Feng-hai and her brother went to the PSB station to request her release. They saw her, bound with heavy chains to the so-called "tiger bench." She was visibly wounded, and could not speak to them.

The following afternoon the family was called to the PSB station, where they were told that Hong-mei had died that day at noon. An autopsy showed numerous wounds to her face, hands and leg, and serious internal bleeding.

The following day the family went to city officials to request an inquiry. About 1,000 people joined in a protest march in front of city offices.

"Our hearts go out to this Christian family," said Nettleton. "We join them in asking for an investigation into this incident. We also thank God for the example of Chinese Christians like Zhang Hong-mei, who are ready to die rather than deny their faith in Christ."