A house church member from Yucheng in Dezhou city, Shandong Province was apprehended after buying an online ticket to go to a religious event.
In January 2018, Liu Fangfang (pseudonym) bought a plane ticket online to attend a religious event in Taiwan and was arrested at her mother’s home right afterward. She was detained for 15 days and later sent to the Dezhou City Detention Center, her family members unable to contact her.
According to one of her church members, Liu Fangfang had been previously arrested for preaching on two occasions: the first time was in Ji’nan, and she was fined 5,000 RMB; in May of 2016, she was arrested again, and held for 15 days and fined 4,000 RMB.
Another source who wished to remain anonymous said that after Liu Fangfang’s arrest in January, the court to which her case had been assigned was reluctant to proceed with it. Possibly, because the case is related to Taiwan, and the police want to collect more evidence to completely cut off local religionists’ contacts with the outside world.
According to Liu Fangfang’s family, following her capture, they had spent 5,000 RMB on a lawyer; however, due to authorities’ severe suppression of religion, the lawyer refused to take her case.
The Chinese authorities view Christianity as the encroachment of western culture, and for this reason strictly limit, control, and try to sever domestic churches’ communications with foreign religious organizations, and are making great efforts to drive out foreign missionaries from the country. In the first document issued by the Chinese Communist Party central committee this year, “No. 1 Central Document,” authorities call to increase the crackdowns on the so-called “illegal religious activities” and “foreign infiltration activities.” Since then, groups and individuals in mainland China that have connections with foreign religious organizations are the primary targets of authorities’ surveillance and crackdowns, and multiple Christians have had their passports confiscated and prevented from leaving the country.
Reported by Jiang Tao
Jiang Tao (uses pseudonyms for security reasons), aged 42, is from Henan Province. He previously served as a magazine editor and has long been concerned about vulnerable groups that are being persecuted in China. He has written a variety of commentaries probing human rights issues in China, and his articles have been published in international journals. After leaving his magazine job in 2015, he started visiting and interviewing persecuted religious groups and other vulnerable groups and gathering information about incidents. He joined Bitter Winter in 2018, and since then is dedicated to reporting the persecution incidents in Henan, Shanghai, Anhui, and other regions.