Source: Direct Reports from China
Date: June 20, 2018
Han Jingtao is currently 97-years-old. He is a priest of a so-called “underground” Catholic church from Bairin Right Banner in Chifeng City, Inner Mongolia. As a priest of the church whose bishops are appointed by the Vatican, not the government-controlled Catholic Patriotic Association, Father Han has suffered brutal oppression from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for over 6o years: he has been sentenced three times and has served over 30 years in prison. This near-centenarian is now ill and bedridden, but the Chinese Communist Party still refuses to leave him in peace: they continue to keep him under house arrest.
The Nong’an county government in Changchun city, Jilin Province, ordered the local police, the urban administration, and the Nong’an Administrative Law Enforcement Bureau to keep 24-hour surveillance on the Chuncheng Residential Complex in Helong town where Father Han now lives. Nobody is allowed to approach him without approval, and those who visit him are taken to the police station to give recorded and written statements. A source who asked to remain anonymous said that the government had ordered to take away the priest’s body as soon as he dies without allowing anyone to see him. “They’ve even been in touch with the crematorium,” said the source.
In August of 1949, Han Jingtao was serving as a priest in a Catholic church in the city of Siping, Jilin Province. Just 27-years-old, the CCP branded him as a “counterrevolutionary” and sentenced to 15 years. Authorities tried to force him to join the Party as well as the government-controlled Patriotic Church, promising to release him if he went along. Father Han was resolute in his faith and refused, saying, “The Party organization – the Patriotic Church – does not worship the true God. It is a fake and satanic organization!” He paid a heavy price for this since15 years were added to his sentence, and he was taken to Baicheng city’s Zhenlai county to serve it. The Chinese officials subjected him to all sorts of abuse while he was serving his time: they wouldn’t allow him to eat a full meal, forced him to do extremely hard labor for as much as 16 hours a day, and made him carry hot bricks straight out of the kiln against his bare skin. He had burns and lost skin all over his hands and body. Father Han was not released until 1980.
In 2006 Father Han was arrested for the second time in the city of Shenyang, Liaoning Province, at the age of 85 and served a six-month sentence. Arrested in 2016 once again the 95-year-old priest was sent to the Chuncheng residential home to serve his sentence under the CCP’s strict surveillance: old, ill and helpless but holding on to his belief, he still poses a threat to authorities.