Contact: Bob Fu, President, China Aid Association
, 432-689-6985, 267-205-5210 cell, [email protected]
MIDLAND, Texas, July 15, 2014 /Christian Newswire
/ -- Zhang "Yunyun" Huixin, the eldest daughter of detained pastor Zhang Shaojie, her husband Sun Zhulei and their 1-year-old daughter Sun "Jesse" Jiexi were rescued from China on July 14.
In April, when Yunyun tried to submit a visa application at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, she was thrown out. However, following her father's sentence of 12 years in prison on a fabricated fraud charge and a charge of gathering a crowd to disrupt public order, Yunyun and her family were given advance parole authorization by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
When Yunyun, Zhulei and Jesse attempted to fly to the U.S. from Beijing on June 23, Chinese security officials blocked them, citing national security risks. Officers from the Nanle County Public Security Bureau and the Henan Public Security Bureau were also present in the airport, monitoring the family.
Persecution against the three -- and extended family members -- increased following Pastor Zhang's sentencing. The Nanle County Public Security Bureau confiscated Yunyun's car, and Pastor Zhang's elderly parents were harassed and threatened. In addition, the Nanle County government enlisted a number of officials from different government bureaus to petition the Nanle County People's Court to add time to Zhang Shaojie's sentence.
Under these circumstances, family members and friends in Henan began asking China Aid to help Yunyun and her young family. China Aid president and founder Bob Fu traveled to Southeast Asia in early July, where he activated China Aid's "underground railroad" and helped escort the three family members safely from China to Southeast Asia until they were able to peacefully travel to the U.S.
"Many anonymous heroes helped them along the way," Fu said.
The family landed in Dallas, Texas, yesterday afternoon and was scheduled to arrive in Midland that night. However, due to flight delays, the family arrived in Midland this morning.
"Our family and our church want to thank the U.S. government and many anonymous church leaders in different parts of the world for helping assist our family's hard-fought freedom," Yunyun said. "Our family comes here to raise awareness of the deteriorating situation of religious freedom in Nanle County, Henan, and in China."
The First Baptist Church of Midland, with more than 6,000 members, will provide support for the family's settlement. The family will be available to interview after a period of rest.
"Our Texas and Midland community warmly welcome this suffering, persecuted family into the United States for freedom," Fu and Pastor Randel Everett, senior pastor of the First Baptist Church, said in a joint statement. "We will continue to pray and fight for religious freedom for the faithful like Pastor Zhang Shaojie. We will not rest until all prisoners of conscience, like Pastor Zhang and attorney Gao Zhisheng, get release from China."
Persecution against the Nanle County Christian Church began in November 2013 when authorities detained more than 20 church leaders and members. Only five, including Zhang Shaojie, remain in detention; Pastor Zhang is the only Nanle County Christian Church member to have been tried, let alone convicted (see www.chinaaid.org/2014/07/nanle-county-authorities-release-2-from.html