Source: Direct Reports from China
Date: June 12, 2018
The Church of Almighty God, a Chinese Christian new religious movement, is now regarded by the Chinese Communist Party as its number one enemy. It is listed as a xie jiao (“heterodox teaching,”) which means that under Article 300 of the Chinese Criminal Code being active in the Church leads automatically to arrest and detention for three to seven years or “more.” Members of the Church, when identified as such, are routinely sent to re-education camps, both with and without a trial before a court of law. Bitter Winter has now learned of new strategies implemented against members who have been arrested and released. Even those who are not sent to re-education camps are submitted to a mandatory program of re-education in their cities or villages and are kept under strict surveillance.
On May 23, the police in Zhejiang Province’s Lishui city came to the home of Chen Fei (pseudonym, female, 48), a member of The Church of Almighty God. This was not her first contact with authorities – Chen Fei already spent time in prison for her belief last year. This time they came to warn her that they were going to arrest her again. Since her release from prison, she is under strict supervision by the Chinese Communist Party, without any personal freedom and ability to enjoy her faith.
According to Chen Fei’, the police have recently intensified the already-tight control over her. A few days ago, on May 18, Chen Fei’s village “guardian” visited Chen Fei and asked her to fill out a form “Worksheet for the Prevention and Control of The Church of Almighty God Members” telling her that the government is fighting against the followers of the Church. Chen Fei also learned from the official that three officers from Lishui’s Liandu District, specifically assigned to manage and control local believers in Almighty God, had been dispatched to the village.
On May 21, around 11:00 a.m., Chen Fei went to the local National Security Brigade office to reclaim her items that had been confiscated when she was arrested last year. The deputy captain asked her if she still believed in Almighty God. She replied that she did, and the deputy captain viciously asked, “How dare you still believe?”
On May 22, at 2:00 p.m., the local court issued an executive notice and a criminal ruling for Chen Fei to sign and provided two documents to the town’s Bureau of Justice.
On May 23, at 9:00 a.m., Chen Fei reported to the local Bureau of Justice. The employees there told her that she was a particular person of interest for them. “Since you’re out of prison, we will be handling you now. This will be like a prison at home: you’re not allowed to leave the area, and the local Bureau of Justice will manage and educate you for the next five years.”
The officials presented her with a long list of demands: order her cell phone service through China Mobile so that they can monitor her; have her phone on her at all times to report to them immediately; report to the Bureau of Justice twice a month where they will take her thumbprint. If she fails to report three times, she will be taken into custody and sent back to prison. Chen Fei was ordered to attend legal study on May 25.
Chen Fei is now completely cut off from her church. A fellow member of The Church of Almighty God wanted to bring some religious materials to her work but noticed a suspicious person monitoring her at the entrance to the factory where she works.