According to reports from China Aid and comments posted by activists on social media, lawyers who have tried to meet with Pastor Zhang and the other detainees have been faced with bureaucratic obstacles, hostile officials, and ill-timed “power outages”.
Pastor Zhang, 48, belongs to the Nanle County Christian Church under the state-sanctioned Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM). On 16 November, police forcibly detained Pastor Zhang without any formal documentation, possibly in response to his work defending the vulnerable social groups. Zhang’s sisters and other church members were also detained, and several others were summoned to government offices. Then on 18 November, over a hundred church members and other supporters gathered in front of the city hall to demand Pastor Zhang’s unconditional release.