Most of the detained have been monitored for days, and some elderly people were tortured to make them disclose information about fellow believers.
by Yao Zhangjin
Amid the coronavirus outbreak, The Church of Almighty God (CAG), the single most-persecuted religious movement in China, and other banned groups remained CCP’s primary targets of religious persecution. A government insider revealed to Bitter Winter that China’s regime plans to “completely eradicate” the CAG by the end of 2020.
In February, 98 CAG members were arrested in Deyang, Neijiang, and other cities in the southwestern province of Sichuan. In May, the provincial government launched another arrest operation in Guang’an, Dazhou, and other cities, resulting in the arrest of at least 40 CAG believers, most of whom were over 60 years old. Some of them were tortured during interrogations.
Eleven believers were arrested in Guang’an on May 22. An elderly CAG member told Bitter Winter that a little past 6 a.m. that morning, hard knocks on the door awakened her. When she opened the door, four police officers broke inside and searched her house, without showing any documents. The woman was taken to a police station, where she was locked to a torture device called “tiger bench” for nine hours.
Earlier that month, another CAG member, nearly 70 years old, was arrested and later tortured to make him disclose information about fellow believers. “Officers called in two doctors who injected some liquid into my mouth,” the believer recalled. “They then cuffed me to a tiger bench, which was connected to electricity, immobilizing my arms and legs. The interrogation started at 4 p.m., and at about 10 p.m., the officers turned on a switch, and I felt a severe electric shock from which I fainted. They interrogated me to disclose information about my brothers and sisters in the Church. After I regained consciousness, I found myself still cuffed to the tiger bench.”
In April and May, arrest operations targeting CAG members were launched across the eastern province of Jiangsu. An employee of the government of Nanjing, the provincial capital, revealed to Bitter Winter that surveillance technology was used to track and arrest believers in most cases. A police officer said that they were conducting arrests according to a list of 180 believers residing in Nanjing, Yancheng, Zhenjiang, and other cities. On May 6-7, at least 20 CAG members were arrested in Nanjing’s Qixia district and Jurong, a county-level city administered by Zhenjiang.
On April 2, 11 CAG members were arrested in Yancheng and Xuzhou cities. An elderly believer told Bitter Winter after his release that he was interrogated in a hotel. Police officers were forcing him to disclose the locations of Church leaders and money. They showed him over 20 photos they had taken during surveillance, asking to identify CAG members.
A CAG believer, who was arrested in April, said that during her interrogation, police officers told her that they would continue to “arrest CAG members unceasingly.”
On May 31, the government of Jiangxi, a province in southeast China, launched an arrest operation against CAG members in the cities of Jiujiang, Ji’an, and Yichun. At least 32 people were arrested within two days, and 120,000 RMB (about $ 16,950) of their money confiscated during the searches of their homes.
A police officer who took part in the operation revealed that some believers had been monitored for over 20 days before their arrest. “Everyone who is known to be a CAG member will be traced,” he added.