On May 14, 2014, at approximately 9 a.m., 3 officers from a local police station in Guoli town, Huantai County in Zibo rushed into the house of Christian Jiang Jiaming (pseudonym), ordered him to get his wife Cui Yu (pseudonym), who was working the fields at the time, and took them both to the local police station.
That same day, subsequent to an interrogation of the couple, the police imprisoned 61-year-old Cui Yu in the Zibo City detention center, while 72-year-old Jiang Jiaming was released due to severe bacterial tracheitis. On May 29, Cui Yu was released after family members bribed officials with 1,000 yuan.
Cui Yu’s imprisonment coincided with the busy farming season, not only forcing the severely ill Jiang Jiaming to undertake hard physical labor despite his condition, but also leaving him in a constant state of worry, fearing for his wife’s safety; this caused his illness to worsen, his whole body became extremely bloated.
On June 5, the Guoli police contacted Jiang Jiaming via phone, asking him and his wife to come to the station to sign some papers. In August, the police summoned the couple to the local police station once more, forcing them to watch the Chinese Communist Party’s videos of defaming religions, and threatening them that if they continued to believe in God, “bad things would happen.” Afterward, the police continued to visit and harass the couple on multiple occasions, leading Jiang Jiaming to become depressed and causing his condition to rapidly worsen.
On September 14, Jiang Jiaming was diagnosed with severe kidney and heart failure. After being hospitalized for more than 20 days, doctors declared Jiang Jiaming’s condition untreatable, leaving him with no choice but to return home and wait for death.
On February 20 of 2015, Jiang Jiaming died in miserable conditions. To date, Cui Yu remains under strict police surveillance.
Bitter Winter reports on how religions are allowed, or not allowed, to operate in China and how some are severely persecuted after they are labeled as “xie jiao,” or heterodox teachings. We publish news difficult to find elsewhere, analyses, and debates.
Placed under the editorship of Massimo Introvigne, one of the most well-known scholars of religion internationally, “Bitter Winter” is a cooperative enterprise by scholars, human rights activists, and members of religious organizations persecuted in China (some of them have elected, for obvious reasons, to remain anonymous).