Pastor Zhang Shaojie of the Nanle Country Christian Church, in the Henan Province, is “barely alive” after suffering various forms of torture in prison, according to reports from his daughter. He is currently serving a 12-year prison sentence which officially began in 2014.
His daughter Esther expresses concern that Pastor Zhang is suffering both mentally and physically as a result of meagre food rations and sleep deprivation. When his sister, Zhang Cuixia, visited on 7 July, she testified that her brother appeared fragile and was not allowed to discuss events outside of the prison.
According to his sister, he looks “like a bag of bones”, with dark discoloration encircling his eyes.
During the sister’s visit, government agents monitored her conversation with Pastor Zhang, limiting it to only talk about family members and praise of new policies under Communist Party leader, Xi Jinping. The siblings decided to subvert these restrictions, speaking of life inside and outside the prison, using their facial expressions to communicate the opposite.
In December 2013, church members, lawyers and Christians visiting the family of detained Pastor Zhang were beaten, harassed and detained themselves by “hired thugs” who work for police and government agencies.
Sources: China Aid, Christian Solidarity Worldwide