In just 20 days in May, in several major cities in Jiangsu Province such as Nanjing and Yangzhou, over 70 members of The Church of Almighty God, a Chinese Christian new religious movement, were arrested and their homes were raided by authorities, some of them have not been heard from since. Over 1,000,000 RMB in church funds were seized and more than 200 believers lost their places of worship.
Over 30 people were arrested in Nanjing, many of them monitored by authorities for six months. Other believers were forced to flee their homes to avoid arrest. On May 15, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) police raided the home of an elderly believer and were about to arrest him, when the man jumped out from the fourth story.
Three believers arrested, possibly subjected to torture
Around 10 a.m. on April 30, more than ten plainclothes officers from a local police station in Yangzhou suddenly burst into the home of Chen Cheng (pseudonym). They arrested her, along with two others who were in a gathering with her, Qiu Jingye (pseudonym) and Jin Shengqin (pseudonym), and conducted a thorough search of the home, turning it upside-down. Officers plundered everything they found: books and other printed religious materials, at least ten laptops worth a total of over 20,000 RMB, four tablet computers, eight external hard drives, one printer, three cellphones, and 80,000 RMB in cash (40,000 RMB was the church fund). Chen Cheng was taken to the police station; Qiu Jingye and Jin Shengqin were taken to a hotel in Yangzhou for secret interrogations.
The three women have not been released, and no information is available about their condition. Most probably, they may face severe torture. According to an insider, the CCP government established a number of secret interrogation bases all over the country that are used as torturing sites. Some of the previously arrested reported that the Church’s members have been taken to secret interrogation rooms in places such as hotels, nursing homes, or abandoned factories and subjected to various torture methods, such as suspension, shock, bamboo splinters shoved into their nails, or waterboarding.
CCP often uses relatives of believers to threaten and entice them to give out information on the Church. Therefore, a few days after her arrest, the local Public Security Bureau sent officers to Jin Shengqin’s hometown to film her daughter.
Two women escape arrest and live in hiding
Before dawn on April 29, two Church members, Yao Ying and Yang Zhong, left Chen Cheng’s home to run some errands, therefore, escaped the arrest.
A little past 3 p.m. on May 1, having learned about the arrest of Chen Cheng and the others, Yang Zhong and Yao Ying fled their home. They were afraid to even go to public restrooms and tried to avoid being filmed by security cameras. The two women are currently hiding out in a secret location. They cannot go out and must exercise caution even when speaking or moving around. Both women are suffering from various medical conditions but do not dare to go to the doctor.
“I saw through the window two dogs playing happily in the street, and I felt so envious,” Yang Zhong said emotionally. “Even little dogs can run around in the street, but we don’t even have the right to go out freely because we’re evading the CCP government’s arrest. Even a dog is better off. There is no shelter for believers in China!”
In preparation for the arrests, since April, the local governments in Jiangsu have been using various means of propaganda to inflame hatred towards The Church of Almighty God. For example, promising to give out from 500 to 5,000 RMB for reporting on members of the Church.
The persecution of The Church of Almighty God is taking place in provinces all over China. From June 26 to 28, over 500 members of the Church were arrested in Liaoning Province as part of the “Operation Thunder.”
Source: Direct Reports from China.