October 16, 2003 (Voice of the Martyrs) -- Mrs. Ding Guizhen, a house church Christian in Henan Province, China, was released last Saturday after 15 days of so-called Administrative Detention.
Ding, a chief medical nurse, told VOM contacts last night that she was in the operating room of the Jianghe Machine Factory Hospital assisting with surgery when police came to the hospital on September 26th. Public Security Bureau officers forced hospital administrators to send another nurse into the operating room, then detained Ding and drove her to her home. Officers searched the home and confiscated documents and a computer, then placed Ding in custody for allegedly concealing evidence.
As she was ushered out of the Detention Center of Lushan County last Saturday, Ding was given official notification of the arrest of her husband, Zhang Yi-nan. Zhang was arrested, along with Mr. Xiao Bi-guang, September 26th.
The notification includes the fact that Zhang is being held on suspicion of "conspiracy to subvert the national government and socialist system." This charge, according to Chapter Two of the Chinese Criminal Code, will carry a sentence of at least five years in prison, and could result in the death penalty. Interrogators told Mrs. Ding that Xiao also faces subversion charges.
Included in the evidence against Mr. Zhang were files on his computer, including an article he was writing about a Christian's attitude towards the Chinese Constitution.
Brother Xiao's wife, Mrs. Gou Qinghui, has still not received official notification of her husband's arrest or charges against him, and was notified by VOM contacts of the location where he is being held. Gou attempted to hire attorneys this week to work on behalf of her husband, but was told that attorneys could not pursue the case until she had the official document notifying her of the case against him. Chinese law says notification will come within 24 hours of arrest.
"This is obviously a frustrating situation for Sister Gou," said Todd Nettleton, a spokesman for The Voice of the Martyrs. "We urge the Chinese government to follow its own laws and give notification to this Christian woman, so that the legal process of defending her husband can begin."
Zhang fasted for the first eight days of his incarceration to pray for spiritual strength to face the ordeal ahead of him. All details in the case are being handled at the Provincial and National level, and local Public Security Bureau officers have not been allowed to question the prisoners at all.
The Voice of the Martyrs encourages American Christians to send a polite letter of protest on behalf of these Christians to:
Ambassador Yang Jiechi
Embassy of the People's Republic of China
2300 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington DC 20008
Tel:(202) 328-2500 Fax:(202) 588-0032
Director of Religious Affairs: (202) 328-2512