Date: July 15, 2017
Nanle County Church pastor Zhang Shaojie has been in Xinxiang Prison of Henan Province for almost four years, serving a 12-year sentence. Recently, his daughter Esther Zhang, discovered he has been tortured in prison.
Zhang Shaojie led a group of Christians to petition in Beijing in 2013 during a dispute with the local government. The trip angered officials, who conspired to have him detained on November 16, 2013, and charged with “swindling” and “assembling a crowd to disrupt the public order” on July 4, 2014.
Recently, Zhang Shaojie began an appeal process, which brought the wrath of his prison upon him. Esther said the prison tortures her father in order to force him to plead guilty.
“He’s unable to see the sun during the day,” Esther said. “He’s deprived of sleep for 24 hours at a time. The prison gives him only one steamed bun a day and intentionally starves him. According to people who have been released from that prison, my father is barely alive, suffering both mentally and physically.”
Zhang Shaojie’s sister, Zhang Cuijuan, said that when she visited her brother he was in poor condition. “His eyes burned from sleep deprivation. He said that he is forbidden to sleep during his ‘strict supervision.’ He was depressed, and I had no way to help him. The prison guard held the phone throughout our entire conversation and we were forbidden to talk about his case.”
Zhang Shaojie is a member of ChinaAid’s campaign for prisoners of conscience, the China 18. His case has been adopted by Congressman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.)
Esther Zhang hopes that her testimony will raise awareness about her father’s condition and pressure China to release him.