The mother of a prominent Chinese Christian human rights lawyer who disappeared following his arrest in August has written a heartbreaking letter to her son relaying her hopes for his mission and expressing her fear over the lack of information about his condition.
"Your lawyers and I don't have even the smallest bit of information about your situation now that you've been taken," she wrote in the letter translated and published by ChinaAid.
"These days, I am terribly upset. There is nothing in my mind except missing you. I want to control myself and my state of mind, but your shadow constantly appears before my eyes."
As reported by the Gospel Herald, Zhang Kai, who is from Beijing, was taken into custody in August while advising a church in Wenzhou, a commercial city commonly referred to as "China's Jerusalem" due to its large Christian population.
Over the past year, Zhang was helping members of the city's Christian community who have actively fought the Communist government's efforts to remove crosses from church rooftops and reduce the presence of churches in the area.
"Christianity teaches us to submit," Zhang said in July of his decision to help churches fight the government order, according to Initium Media. "But what we ought to submit to is the Constitution and morality, not to illegal people and conduct."
Following his arrest, Zhang was charged with "endangering state security" and "disturbing the public order".
While both the international community and aid groups have called for Zhang's release, reports have emerged that he is facing a lengthy prison sentence ore even the death penalty without having access to legal representation.
In continuing her letter to her son, Zhang's mother, who was not named in the letter, spoke of her son's achievements and his determination to seek justice.
"You succeed because you've studied well and have a solid foundation," she recalled. "In your life, you never take breaks. That year after the bar exam, you lost over five kilograms (10 lbs.), and many times I had to drag you out to walk around. After returning, you immediately went back into intense studies."
Despite his academic achievements which could have placed him in a high-profile government position, Zhang chose to focus his talents on promoting social justice.
"Confronting the current domestic chaos, you fought against social injustice and hazardous challenges," his mother wrote. "Was it necessary? Must you give yourself more pressure? But you said: 'If a soldier knows he needs to defeat his enemy on the battlefield, will he not go? I must do this and I cannot fear the risks. I must take it upon myself to dare to do what is right'."
She continued, "I am frightened, in dire straits, and extremely nervous about your situation...My friends and colleagues praise you as 'my good son.' I should feel proud, but instead I am consumed by worry and fear."
Despite her fears, Zhang's mother closed with a word of encouragement and shared her hopes that the current government will soon end.
"The nation's leaders cannot say these great words and then do nothing. They cannot implement policy changes and then act in spite of them. They cannot allow people who act according to the law to be oppressed and put in jail but the free those who violate the law. This government-under which magistrates may burn down houses while common people are forbidden to light their lamps-will swiftly come to its end!"
She concluded: "May God be with you, and may Jesus Christ keep you safe."