Source: Direct Reports from China
Date: June 22, 2018
Four years ago, Chinese law enforcement authorities placed a 55-year-old member of The Church of Almighty God, a Christian new religious movement, from the city of Shangrao in Jiangxi Province on the most-wanted list because of her belief in Almighty God. She fled home to avoid arrest.
After four long years on the run, Xiaoyue (pseudonym) took a chance and came back home in the evening of April 9, 2018. Twelve days later, five officers with the county National Security Brigade came to her village and ordered one of the officials there to take them to Xiaoyue’s husband because they heard that she had come back. Having heard that the police were looking for his mother, her son collected 3,000 RMB and went to the police to persuade them not persecute his mother. The police ordered him to come to the National Security Brigade on April 23.
At the police station, the officers told him that since his mother believes in Almighty God, which is a faith the government does not allow, someone reported her a few years ago and she ran away. “Every Spring Festival we order the village officials to collect information on those who do not live at home. Since your mother was away all those years, she certainly holds some position in the church. Warn her to give up her faith and tell her to just stay at home. If she continues to believe in God and attends religious gatherings she’ll be arrested, and, then, nobody can protect her. No amount of money will help!”
Afraid that she will be arrested by the CCP again for continuing to believe in God and attend gatherings, her husband and son forbade her to practice her religion and would not allow her to leave home by herself. Xiaoyue, though not in prison, was confined to her home and lost personal freedoms.
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Bitter Winter plans to report on how religions are allowed, or not allowed, to operate in China and how some are severely persecuted after they are labeled as “xie jiao,” or heterodox teachings. We plan to publish news difficult to find elsewhere, analyses, and debates.
Placed under the editorship of Massimo Introvigne, one of the most well-known scholars of religion internationally, “Bitter Winter” is a cooperative enterprise by scholars, human rights activists, and members of religious organizations persecuted in China (some of them have elected, for obvious reasons, to remain anonymous).