Man recounts personal experience of his family torn apart by Party persecution, and distortions of his story used to encourage neighbors to report believers.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has produced a short film attacking The Church of Almighty God (CAG) and has promoted it vigorously among the people. The film’s protagonist, however, says that the film deliberately distorts the facts and calls it a “fake movie.”
Bitter Winter received a confidential document issued by a local government in Nanchang city in southeast China’s Jiangxi Province. The document calls for “anti-xie jiao” propaganda during the national “Two Sessions,” the annual meeting of the National People’s Congress (NPC) and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). The document advised that local authorities should use the opportunity of the Spring Festival to build distrust of the CAG. It suggests using large LED screens at recreation venues to play the short film called Come Home Soon, Mom and Dad.
This short film tells the story of “a family of four being torn apart due to belief in God.” Believers, however, say the CCP carefully fabricated it. Before the Spring Festival, the CCP promoted it at schools throughout central Shanxi Province, trying to set off a wave of anti-CAG resistance among students.
The real Li Hui (a pseudonym), the film’s protagonist, says that the movie gets everything wrong. Believing in God, or joining the CAG, did not cause their family to break up. “It isn’t like that at all,” he says. “The breakdown of our family was caused entirely by the CCP. The CCP is the culprit that caused my family’s breakdown.” In Mr. Li’s eyes, this film is a fake movie that distorts the facts.
The truth behind the short film
Li Hui and his parents are members of the CAG. “Since accepting Almighty God’s gospel of the last days in 2012, my mom and dad have been mutually understanding and tolerant in many things” remembers Mr. Li. “Our family lived together in joy and harmony. They shared the gospel with me, and also with others who were struggling in the dark.”
But the good times didn’t last. Once while he was sharing the gospel, Mr. Li’s father was arrested and detained for ten days for “using a xie jiao organization to disturb social order.” Since then, the CCP’s persecution and harassment of his family has been unending.
Mr. Li recalled, “On February 18, 2013, a village official brought three local police officers to my home, and the officers tried to force my dad to give up his faith. They also confiscated two Christian books in my home and threatened to take him to the police station if he continued to be religious like this.”
“Since then, the village official and police officers frequently pressured my dad to give up his faith. Under such pressure, my dad had to leave home and work casual jobs elsewhere while continuing to practice his faith. But he secretly returned home often to visit us. It isn’t like in the film at all, which says that he didn’t take care of his children. He was forced to leave home because of the CCP’s persecution,” Mr. Li continued.
In 2014, Mr. Li also accepted Almighty God’s gospel of the last days. Soon, the CCP’s harassment once again befell the family. But this time, the target was Li Hui.
“In late March 2015, four brothers from the church and I were arrested while holding a gathering,” said Mr. Li. “After being held at the detention house for two years and four months, Qingshanhu District People’s Court in Nanchang city sentenced four of us to three years in prison with three-year probation for ‘using a xie jiao organization to undermine law enforcement.’ It also imposed a fine of 3,000 RMB (about $450).”
After Mr. Li was arrested, his mother left home and went into hiding out of fear of being arrested herself.
In June 2017, Mr. Li was released. But when he arrived home, the place was empty. His young sister had been sent to be raised by his uncle.
“My sister has always been a quiet person. Due to the CCP’s persecution, and after losing the companionship and care of our parents, she has become even more uncommunicative,” Mr. Li said.
How was the film made?
Even after being released, Li Hui still had no freedom. He was monitored through GPS, and required to report regularly to the local public security department. Meanwhile, officials plotted to use him for their purposes.
Mr. Li recalled that on February 7, 2018, the director (surnamed Liu) of the Political and Legal Affairs Committee of Nanchang city brought three people to Li’s home, saying that they wanted to learn about his situation and demanding that he cooperate.
“He asked me questions while taking notes,” Mr. Li recalls. “First about my studies, then about religion. ‘Did your parents’ attitude toward you and your sister change after they started believing in God? Do you think that a big change occurred in your family after this?’ I answered truthfully. After recording everything I said, only then did he tell me that they were making a movie to ‘educate’ more people, and were treating my family’s case as a typical example. Only then did I become aware of their deceitful scheme.”
After the film was made, Mr. Li discovered that the facts had been completely distorted. His answers to the director of the Political and Legal Affairs Committee were altered beyond recognition. “It was obviously because the CCP persecuted and sought to arrest my parents who were forced to leave home and live an unsettled life somewhere else,” he retorted.
Now, to extricate himself from the CCP’s tight surveillance, Mr. Li also felt he had to leave home and go into hiding. His younger sister dropped out of school and went to work away from home because the family was unable to pay her high school tuition fees.
“Our family has been torn apart. It is difficult for us to meet. CCP’s religious persecution caused all of this,” Mr. Li repeated.
The voice of Li Hui
The film has been played extensively at schools across Nanchang city and was promoted vigorously during the Spring Festival, causing Mr. Li great concern.
“This film, which slanders and vilifies the CAG, was designed to incite people who don’t know the truth to hate the CAG,” Mr. Li said. “The CCP’s deceptive tricks are sinister! I hope that everyone stops being deceived. If I had not personally experienced being arrested, and witnessed how my family was torn apart, then I, too, would have been deceived.”
In China, there are countless examples of Christians being persecuted and having their families torn apart. The authorities have always believed that the growth of religion will threaten its rule. As a result, the CCP regards fast-growing religious groups, especially the CAG, as an enemy. The CCP harasses and arrests believers, and creates fake news or rumors to affect public opinion.
The Party regularly sends films to the countryside. While playing them, authorities issue flyers, asking people to report religious believers around them. In general, these films mainly attack Falun Gong and the CAG. The content includes all kinds of trumped-up news, like the McDonald’s Murder of 2014 in Zhaoyuan city, Shandong Province. These activities are generally organized by the local governments, the Religious Affairs Bureau, and the Bureau of Culture.
Reported by Tang Zhe