Peter Hahn, a Korean American missionary who was arrested last year has been released by China. The case sparked international outcry from Christian groups. Some sources have stated that owing to this crackdown, a lot of Christian missionaries have been forced out of China because their visas have been revoked.
Those who were in support of the Korean American missionary are of the opinion that the Chinese authorities mainly targeted him because he hailed from Christian faith and also owing to the fact that he ran a small vocational school which was non profit.
Zhang Peihong, Hahn’s lawyer reported that his client, who is a diabetic, is now in stable health after suffering from a stroke. Hahn is currently in Seoul after finally getting a release from the Chinese authorities on August 17th.
It is important to know that Hahn was released, just ahead of the Chinese president’s visit to the US in late September. It is believed that in the meeting, one of the points of contention would be the Chinese laws pertaining to the governance of NGOs.
Hahn’s lawyer was quick to add that, “It’s not that he has been freed (early). He was sentenced to nine months and those nine months have been served.”
The lawyer further added that three charges out of the four that were imposed on his client have been dropped on grounds of lack of concrete evidence. However, the most serious charge of counterfeiting receipts has not been withdrawn.
Most of the western government and even foreign based nonprofit groups have been asking China to bring about changes in their NGO law. The current laws require foreign nonprofit groups to seek an official sponsor who would ideally be an agency backed by the government. This gives the police a lot of power to control the funding process.