A Protestant from Henan was reported merely for letting some fellow religionists sing and pray for her, which spurred the authorities to harass her to death.
To eliminate religious belief, authorities in central China’s Henan Province are vigorously mobilizing the masses to report believers, a common practice prevalent during the Cultural Revolution. The constant fear of being caught is significantly restricting the normal religious activities of the faithful of various confessions, subjecting them to harassment and persecution by the State.
A Protestant believer in Henan’s Xiayi county in her late seventies and suffering from coronary heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes, is one of the victims who was reported.
On January 16, after she was discharged from the hospital where she spent a few days of treatment, her fellow believers from the village came to see her, and they prayed and sang hymns for her. Never did they expect that this act of compassion would bring about a disaster.
An informer recorded the believers praying and singing hymns and reported it to the local government. The following day, four township officials came to the ill woman’s home to question her, disregarding that she was severely ill and in the process of recuperating. They sternly rebuked her: “Yesterday, people at your home were holding a gathering and singing hymns. Holding private gatherings is against the law!”
Her husband repeatedly explained that it was just a few neighbors who came to visit, and there was no gathering. He asked to leave his wife alone since, with her illness, she could not stand any stress. The officials completely ignored him, and not only did they forcibly photograph her and demand her medical case history, but they also went to a neighbor’s home to talk about her condition.
The officials’ threats and intimidation frightened the woman, exacerbating her condition. She suffered trembling and spasms all over her body, and was unable to speak.
But the officials didn’t stop there: the next day, the four returned to harass her again. They questioned her about the believers who came to her home to sing hymns.
Her family members initially thought that the trouble would end there. They never anticipated that two officials from the county government would come to her home a day later to investigate the singing of hymns. The officials threatened the woman, saying, “If it weren’t for your old age and serious illness, you would be arrested. Holding private gatherings is a major crime.”
After the government officials took turns intimidating and threatening her, the elderly woman suffered great psychological stress, and her condition worsened again. She died on January 20, only five days after being discharged from the hospital.