Source: Direct Reports from China
Date: June 15, 2018
Bitter Winter has just received an account from four house church members from a village in Jilin Province about their persecution for religious beliefs that has been continuing for three years. At 9 o’clock on the evening of June 10, 2015, the criminal police squad of the Public Security Bureau of the city of Huadian sent seven police vans filled with over 20 officers to the village of Yuxing, Changshan town, where they carried out coordinated raids of the homes of four Christians. One group of officers went to the home of a 50-year-old female Christian, Zhang Shumei (pseudonym), and started asking her questions: for how long she believed in Almighty God; did she have any religious books. They then ordered her to come with them, bundling her into a police van despite her objections. At the same time, the police raided the homes of two other Christians — Xiao Yun and Li Na— and arrested them. All three were then taken to the Huadian City Party School.
Another group of policemen had burst into the home of a 53-year-old male Christian, Wu Qiang, whose house was where religious meetings were held. To stop him from running away, they first blocked up the front and rear doors and all the windows. After a forced entry, they discovered that only Wu’s wife was home. “How long have you been a believer?” they shouted at her. “How many years have the others in the village been believers?” Wu’s wife didn’t answer. After ripping a cross from the wall, the police started ransacking the room, turning it upside down. They did not, however, find any religious items. The police didn’t arrest Wu’s wife because of her disability, but they did take a photo of her for their records and told her, “When your husband gets back, tell him to report to Huadian City Party School. If he doesn’t, we’ll punish him severely and arrest him!”
The next day, Wu Qiang had no choice but to go to the Party School, where each Christian was appointed a government employee to stay with them and watch over them. The Christians weren’t allowed to speak and were closely monitored when they slept and went to the toilet. To make them renounce their faith, the authorities subjected them to 20 days of intense psychological pressure. Every day, government officials indoctrinated them with atheism, evolutionism (unacceptable for most house church members), and other theories that denied the existence of God. They forced the Christians to read numerous materials denying God and blaspheming against God, causing them considerable mental and physical distress. After 20 days of intense psychological pressure, the village secretary brought four Christians back to the village and gathered them together with their families. He then forced them to sign a document threatening, “If you don’t stop believing in the Lord, the next time you’re arrested you’ll be sentenced to prison.”
After the detained returned to their village, they were closely monitored by the Changshan Township police station and were forbidden from leaving the country for five years.
In March 2018, officers from the Changshan Township police station came to the village, took individual photos of Xiao Yun, Li Na, Wu Qiang, and Zhang Shumei, and collected their saliva. Li Na could not keep from asking, “Haven’t you done enough already? Why do you keep coming back here?” The officer replied, “Can’t we come and say hello?” According to Zhang Shumei, the police came and photographed all four of them and their families every year saying that this will continue for six more years. They continue to live in an invisible prison—they don’t have any personal freedom and are constantly at risk of arrest.