Source: Direct Reports from China
Date: June 14, 2018
Bitter Winter has recently received an account about the death of a 52-year-old house church member in January 2016. Ji Yuxin from Sijia Township in the city of Beipiao, Liaoning Province, joined the church in 1998 and worked with a congregation of almost 3,000 believers. Though the story is more than two years old, it is a reminder of the dangers that members of religious minorities face in China.
Ji Yuxin was arrested in the fall of 2015, while meeting his fellow believers in a house church in Xiaozhangzi village in the Longtan Township and was taken to the Beipiao detention center. His family was not notified about his detention, and only a few months later, in the morning of January 31, 2016, the police called his family and told them that Ji Yuxin had had a sudden heart attack in the detention center and died after medical treatment was ineffective.
Ji Xinyu had always been in great health with no serious medical conditions, so his family did not believe that he had died because of heart attack and rushed to the detention center demanding to see the surveillance tapes before his death. Shocked and angry, his younger brother wanted to know on what grounds he was arrested. The officer replied that the cause of the arrest was Ji’s belief in God and that he disrupted social order. He also asked if anyone else in the family was a believer. Determined to prevent Ji’s family from stirring trouble, the police dispatched over ten special force officers to keep watch at their hotel and the crematorium.
Ji Yuxin’s family have contacted the police on multiple occasions trying to find out what had really happened. The police, fearing that their conduct would come to light, gave the family an RMB 330,000 compensation for “poverty alleviation,” hoping to resolve the matter.
Ji Yuxin’s death left his family grief-stricken. After hearing the terrible news, his wife fainted several times and was sent to a hospital for emergency treatment. His old father, overwhelmed with grief, became disoriented and fell seriously ill. He told Bitter Winter that prior to Ji Yuxin’s arrest, the police had come to his home to arrest him, but, luckily, he was not home. He never imagined that he would die behind CCP bars.