Concern for detained Chinese Christian lawyers

This week has seen the anniversary of the abductions of two Chinese Christian lawyers, detained without charge or trial in a crackdown on religious freedom campaigners in China.

Gao Zhisheng disappeared a year ago on April 20, soon after the authorities claimed they had released him. And another high profile lawyer, Jiang Tianyong, was seized two months ago on February 19 and has not been heard of since. Both had been campaigning for religious freedom in China.

"Gao had bravely spoken out about being tortured by the authorities," says Andy Dipper, the CEO of Christian human rights organisation Release International.

"And Jiang told Release two days before his arrest that he feared the same fate awaited him.

"Our message to China is simple. Gao Zhisheng and Jiang Tianyong are lawyers who campaigned for basic freedoms.

"The longer you deny them their freedom, the more you are proving the truth of their case. Honour your commitment to human rights by letting Gao and Jiang go."

China has recently launched a major crackdown on lawyers and human rights activists.

Through its international network of missions Release serves persecuted Christians in 30 countries around the world, by supporting pastors and Christian prisoners, and their families; supplying Christian literature and Bibles, and working for justice. Release is a member of the UK organisations Global Connections and the Evangelical Alliance.