U.S. Demands China Release Detained Christian Lawyer

U.S. Demands China Release Detained Christian Lawyer

The United States demanded this week that China release a Christian lawyer along with other religious officials who were detained in August.

According to the Associated Press, the lawyer and the other roughly 10 religious officials were detained just before a meeting with a visiting senior U.S. diplomat.

The U.S. also called on China to release female political prisoners.

David Saperstein, the U.S. ambassador at-large for religious freedom, was supposed to meet with Christian attorney Zhang Kai and the other religious officials on Aug. 26. The Christians and other officials were detained on Aug. 25. He said the actions were “outrageous.”

"In that context, there can be no excuse for the detention of these religious figures who either met with me or tried to meet with me," Saperstein told reporters.

Zhang had been working with churches in China that were resisting government orders to remove crosses.

Local Christians reported that police had detained at least 11 pastors and church members last week.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, has also asked for the release of 20 women prisoners of conscience. Three are imprisoned in China.

Later this month, Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to visit the U.S. at the United Nations General Assembly and the 20th anniversary of a global conference on women.

Photo courtesy: commons.wikimedia.org

Publication date: September 2, 2015