Date:                            April 27, 2023



Chinese-American Pastor David Lin (Courtesy of Free Pastor David Lin Committee)

"U.S. Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns recently visited with several Americans who have been detained in China, including David Lin, a pastor who has been in prison since 2006.

A ChinaAid spokesperson applauded the visit and said it represents a good step toward the release of U.S. prisoners in China.

"ChinaAid commends U.S. Ambassador Burns' visit to wrongfully convicted Americans in China," a ChinaAid spokesman said in a statement. "Even in the midst of tense relations between China and the U.S., issues of prisoners' release should be handled on humanitarian grounds. This is not the end of the process, but Ambassador Burns is taking a positive step toward the release of Pastor Lin and others."

ChinaAid reported that Burns' meeting was the first time in more than five years that a U.S. official was allowed to visit Americans detained in China. Accompanied by consular officers, Burns met with Lin as well as Texas businessman Mark Swiden and Chinese-American Kai Li, who was accused of espionage and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Pastor Lin began traveling regularly to China in the 1990s. After feeling the call to preach Christianity there, he tried to obtain a license to carry out Christian ministry from the Chinese government, according to ChinaAid.

Lin began a preaching tour across the mainland in 1999, but in 2006, Chinese police detained him for assisting a house of worship's efforts to construct a church building. At that time he was barred from leaving China. In 2009, Lin was arrested for "contact fraud," and a Chinese court sentenced him to life in prison.

In prison, Lin said he has welcomed the opportunity to share his faith with other inmates, and he has been able to establish a prayer group. Between 2018 and 2019, officials reported that Lin's health was deteriorating, and he requested early release.

Some critics charge that Lin had been subjected to "inhumane abuse" while in prison. In 2022 Lin's sentence was amended, and he is currently scheduled for release in 2030.

The Dui Hua Foundation estimates that as many as 200 Americans are currently being detained in China, Politico reported."

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