Source: Human Rights Without Frontiers and Direct Reports from China
Date: June 5, 2018
As reported in an article of Human Rights Without Frontiers, on May 23, 2018, Yang Shihua, a Chinese member of the Christian new religious movement The Church of Almighty God, was arrested upon her return to China from South Korea. She has been arrested for being a member of a xie jiao, an expression the Chinese authorities translated as “evil cults” but which in fact means “heterodox teachings,” and is applied to all religious groups listed by the government as undesirable. Her whereabouts are still unknown.
In early 2018, Yang fled to South Korea due to the increasingly severe persecution in China. She was seriously sick and flew back to China in May 2018 for medical treatment that was too expensive for her in South Korea but was immediately detained when she landed in Beijing. Her husband who was waiting for her at the airport was also detained, though later released. Police officers were sent to their home to confiscate laptops, tablets, and cell phones.
Yang Shihua thought that she could pass the customs successfully and that her membership in the banned religion was unknown to the Chinese authorities, as she had kept a low profile in Korea. Unfortunately, she was wrong.
The incident proves that Chinese authorities keep a close watch on the diaspora communities of banned groups and that members who had not been known as such when they were in China are identified abroad and arrested if they return to China.