In a tactic that is reminiscent of Cultural Revolution, people of Christian faith were publicly humiliated by parading them in streets.
During China’s Cultural Revolution in the late 1960s to 1970s, a large number of people who were seen as violators of any kind by the Communist Party government would be put through public trials or paraded in streets. These included businessmen, intellectuals, and religious believers. This was an effective method as it simultaneously punished the offenders and instilled fear in the minds of masses.
Recently, Bitter Winter learned about an incident from March 2016 in which several Christians, including a preacher, were paraded in the streets of Zhenba County in Shaanxi Province.
Local police officers in the area raided the congregation site of a house church in response to an anonymous complaint. Fang Min, the non-resident preacher of the church, was taken into detention and interrogated multiple times. The police also seized various personal items including his computer and a Christian cross.
Less than a week later, the police conducted another raid and arrested Mr. Zhou Shen, also a preacher. The search at his home revealed a list of believers, and subsequently, eight Christians from the church were arrested as well.
This group of ten was then rounded up by the police and paraded for mass humiliation and propaganda. Banners went up across the Zhenba County streets, denouncing Christianity as well as the religious faith of any kind. The local branch of the state-controlled broadcast media filmed a report on the incident as well. A public trial was held for the group, in which Mr. Min was accused of organizing illegal missionary activities and disrupting social order. For this, he was given a three-year prison sentence. Mr. Shen was ordered to serve two years outside the prison. An elderly Christian couple had their state benefits of over 200 RMB canceled, following the trial.
While legal experts have called this act a severe violation of human rights and dignity, the Communist Party government seems least bothered. As per insider reports, the police continued to pay visits to the congregation site to make sure believers were not meeting again.
Reported by Yao Zhangjin
Yao Zhangjin (uses pseudonyms for security reasons) is from Chengdu, Sichuan. He was baptized into the Christian faith during his university studies. It was also at that time when he learned about the Chinese Communist Party’s persecution of Christians in China. Several times, he has witnessed believers being arrested. Yao writes about these incidents and submits his articles for publication in various overseas media outlets. Now he joins Bitter Winter and is a special correspondent covering Sichuan, Chongqing, and some other regions.