On March 10-25, 2018, the police in Suzhou implemented organized arrests of believers. One of them was an elderly family church presbyter in a village in Xiao county.
At 2:00 p.m. on March 23, 68-years-old family church presbyter Wu Jie (pseudonym) went to the clinic of Li Hui (78, pseudonym), a fellow church member, to pick up pain medication for his rheumatism. As the two were speaking, over twenty police officers drove up to Li Hui’s clinic, four of them rushing into the clinic and arresting Wu Jie. The remaining officers forcefully questioned Li Hui about whether he was still spreading the gospel. Wu Jie was taken to a detention center in Xutang, Dingli town. The police later searched Wu Jie’s home without showing any warrant and leaving it in disarray, but finding no incriminating materials.
After the incident, Li Hui and other church members learned that the mobile phones of all those whose religious belief records were kept in the police station had been monitored. Wu Jie was previously arrested for his belief in 1992 and sentenced to three and a half years.
On March 24, Wu’s wife went to the detention center requesting to see her husband but was refused. When she inquired about his release date, the officers responded, “We’ll release him when he is lying on the ground and can no longer move!”
Source: Direct reports from China
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Bitter Winter plans to report on how religions are allowed, or not allowed, to operate in China and how some are severely persecuted after they are labeled as “xie jiao,” or heterodox teachings. We plan to publish news difficult to find elsewhere, analyses, and debates.
Placed under the editorship of Massimo Introvigne, one of the most well-known scholars of religion internationally, “Bitter Winter” is a cooperative enterprise by scholars, human rights activists, and members of religious organizations persecuted in China (some of them have elected, for obvious reasons, to remain anonymous).