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Zhang Xiuhong

On August 3rd, Zhang Xiuhong, who served as a volunteer deacon and church accountant, was released after being imprisoned for two years. Zhang's arrest was part of the government's broad crackdown on the Living Stone "Huoshi" Church in Guiyang. Chinese authorities have repeatedly targeted the church in recent years by freezing its assets, expelling church members from the property, and arresting one of the church's founders.

On July 28, 2015, Zhang was arrested after withdrawing church funds from an ATM located in her beauty shop. Officers stopped Zhang's car as she was driving near the church building, then they hauled her from the vehicle. The church worker's husband was also arrested while returning from a walk with their children, but then later released. Meanwhile, authorities invaded their home and seized Zhang's computers, USB devices and hard drives.

Zhang was held and charged with "illegal business operations." Yet during an interrogation, the interrogator did not ask her questions regarding church business matters. Instead, he centred his questions on church pastors and other core members. In a trial, which finally took place on February 10th of this year, Zhang was sentenced to five years in prison for this alleged crime. Thankfully, she did not have to complete the sentence. Our prayers are now with Zhang as she resumes life outside of prison walls.