Released after completing a three-year sentence for her belief, a Christian comes home with serious health problems.
Wang Ping (pseudonym) who was arrested in April 2015 has recently been released after completing her three-year sentence at the Yuci Women’s Prison in Shanxi. However, she has barely emerged alive and goes back home to a broken family.
Ping, along with two preachers and a believer, was detained after an anonymous police complaint was filed against the group meeting at her home. Police officers from the local station drove unmarked minivans to the residence and barged in without a warrant. While the four were handcuffed, the officers carried on their illegal search and seized a Bible, gospel materials and two laptops found at Ping’s home. That night, the four were kept in an underground room without any light at the Hejin City Public Security Bureau. In the morning, the group was escorted to Yanhu District Women’s Detention Centre in Yuncheng city.
Ping’s husband, Mr. Zhou, too was taken into illegal custody by the Hejin police and was accused of “bringing in outside preachers.” He was released after four days but was repeatedly called in for questioning for over a year and a half. Ping and the two preachers were subjected to brutal interrogations during this time. The fourth person, who was a believer, was able to get out within a week thanks to her family’s connections.
The local court cited “illegal gathering” and “disturbing public order” while sentencing Ping and the preachers. Ping was sentenced to three years in jail, and the preachers got five and seven years respectively. Mr. Zhou tried appealing against the sentence but was dissuaded by his lawyer who said, “the state classifies anything to do with religion as a political issue; you wife was convicted for believing in God, and no one is going to touch this case.”
Wang Ping had been organizing missionary activities since 2010 and was previously reported to the policy by a government-controlled Three-Self Church’s director. At the time, she and eight other Christians were detained by the police but were soon let off.
The last three years inside the prison have been difficult for Ping. According to her acquaintances, she was in good health when she was arrested in 2015. However, while in prison, she had developed deformities in her feet and mouth. She could neither walk nor eat or speak and spent her days lying the bed. When it became clear that she might die in prison, the officers who had refused medical treatment for her so far panicked and brought in doctors to look after her. This was three months prior to her release, but due to the delay in treatment, the injuries proved to be damaging. Today, she is incapable of taking care of herself and needs physical assistance. She cannot speak clearly and has delayed mental reactions as well.
Life has not been kind to her family either. Her husband injured his hip in an accident and now needs crutches to walk. Their 13-year-old son too was forced to drop out of school, as both his parents were ill and unable to take care of him.
The preachers continue to serve their sentences at the Shanxi prison.