Crackdown operations took place this Fall and Winter in Guangdong, Guangxi, Henan, and Shandong.
by Jiang Tao
Guangdong and Guangxi: over 200 CAG members arrested in 40 days
From October 14 to November 23 this year, the CCP authorities carried out a wanton arrest operation against Church of Almighty God (CAG) members in the cities of Dongguan, Shenzhen, Foshan, and Qingyuan in the province of Guangdong, and in the cities of Wuzhou and others in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in southern China. As a consequence, 217 CAG members were arrested in 40 days.
According to a police officer who participated in this operation and talked to Bitter Winter requesting anonymity, his superiors are disturbed by the fact that notwithstanding a massive campaign of repression and arrests, the CAG continues to be present and even grows in the area.
The Church of Almighty God is a Chinese Christian new religious movement. Since its establishment in 1991, the CAG has been mercilessly suppressed and persecuted by the CCP. Even during the COVID-19 time, the CCP continued to persecute the CAG and arrest its members.
On the early morning of October 26, over ten CCP police officers broke into the house of a gentleman whose wife is a CAG member. They searched his house for over three hours, and found out a laptop and money, more than 100,000 Yuan in cash, and took everything away with his wife and children.
After being released from arrest, the younger daughter who is not yet 15, told Bitter Winter that “The police took away all of our money, and my father only found some tens of RMB (about a few USD) left in our house. I’m afraid that we can’t go through this month. To save money, I only eat one meal a day, suffering constant stomachache from starvation.”
“On the early morning of November 17,” a CAG member from Guangdong’s Shenzhen city told Bitter Winter after being released from arrest, “when I was still sleeping, the police broke in.” She added that over ten police officers broke into her house and arrested her and four other CAG members.
She also said that during her interrogation, the police claimed that they started to prepare the arrest operation from 3 a.m. and on that day 180 CAG members were targeted and arrested. They received instructions from above that they should continue to keep under surveillance and arrest CAG members in the area.
According to a village committee member in Guangdong Province, in mid-September, the local authorities ordered that village committees question every household to investigate whether it includes CAG believers. The authorities also requested them to compile an investigation statistical form. Villagers from Gaozhou county, in the jurisdiction of Guangdong’s Maoming prefecture-level city, reported that in October the police went from door to door in the local area and asked whether there were CAG believers there.
In mid-November, several CAG members were arrested, one by one, and “disappeared” in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Most of them were CAG church leaders and coworkers. Their whereabouts remain unknown.
Pingdingshan, Henan: 59 CAG members arrested in one month
From September 19 to October 19, the police arrested 59 CAG members in Pingdingshan city in the central province of Henan. The officers also harassed another 200 CAG members and forcibly searched their houses.
“This action is code-named ‘Operation Thunder,’ and is mainly devised to arrest CAG members. They are accused of disturbing social order,” a local government employee admitted to Bitter Winter. “The inspection team sent by the central government stays here for inspection, and the provincial government focuses its effort on Pingdingshan city, mainly targeting to arrest CAG members there,” the bureaucrat said.
The mother of a CAG member from Pingdingshan city told Bitter Winter that on the afternoon of September 19, her son was arrested by officers from the local police station and the county’s National Security Brigade. Until now, she has not yet received any information about his whereabouts.
At the end of September, the Public Security Bureau of Pingdingshan city went on with the arrest operations against CAG members. “The higher authorities held a conference at the end of September, ordering to carry out an arrest operation against CAG members. Our bureau is assigned a quota task, and instructed to use plainclothes officers to locate and track CAG members, and arrest them after ascertaining their situation,” a public security bureau employee revealed to Bitter Winter.
On October 10, police officers broke into the house of a local CAG member. She was lucky enough to escape arrest. “She is a church leader. She will be given a sentence if caught,” a government employee stated, adding that seven other CAG members were arrested that day in the local area.
Zaozhuang, Shandong: arrest operations keep going on
The authorities in Zaozhuang city in the eastern province of Shandong have been specially active in persecuting and suppressing the CAG. From August to the end of October this year, the authorities have arrested nearly 50 CAG members by tracking and tailing them, installing tracking devices on their electric vehicles, and using other methods. In November, the Zaozhuang government carried out another unified arrest operation, and as a result, 17 CAG members were arrested between November 1 and 8.
The CCP’s efforts to suppress and persecute the CAG continue. The authorities convened conferences in various cities and villages, demanding local Party committees, political and legal committees, and Party and government organizations to investigate CAG believers. The officials were ordered to distribute all kinds of negative propaganda about the CAG, inciting the public to report on CAG believers. As a consequence, more and more CAG members have no choice but to abandon their homes.