Bai Lin (uses pseudonyms for security reasons) is a 27-year-old Miao woman from Yunnan, graduated from Yunnan Normal University’s School of Communications. After learning that many petitioners from her hometown have gone missing, she started paying attention to human rights issues in China. She writes articles for and provides information to several foreign media outlets. In 2018, she took the initiative to join Bitter Winter and became a special correspondent covering Yunnan Province, Guizhou Province, and some other regions in China.
Feng Gang (uses pseudonyms for security reasons), who was born in Zhejiang Province, China in 1986 and currently resides in Shanxi Province, worked at a TV station in Shanxi after graduating from university. In 2015, Feng Gang and some friends cofounded their own independent media outlet. In May 2018, he became a special correspondent of Bitter Winter covering Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei Province, Shanxi Province, and some other regions in China.
Gu Qi (uses pseudonyms for security reasons), was born into an ordinary family in Inner Mongolia in 1972 and has aspired to be a journalist since childhood. After graduation, he achieved his wish to become a political news reporter, but discovered that freedom of the press is non-existent in China and he could not accurately communicate the truth about certain incidents to the reader, so he resigned from his job as a reporter and became a freelance journalist. He often visits the scene of incidents in person to collect news data and interview family members of the people involved in the incidents and publishes the resulting articles in various overseas media outlets. He is now a special correspondent of Bitter Winter covering Inner Mongolia.
Jiang Tao (uses pseudonyms for security reasons), aged 42, is from Henan Province. He previously served as a magazine editor and has long been concerned about vulnerable groups that are being persecuted in China. He has written a variety of commentaries probing human rights issues in China, and his articles have been published in international journals. After leaving his magazine job in 2015, he started visiting and interviewing persecuted religious groups and other vulnerable groups and gathering information about incidents. He joined Bitter Winter in 2018, and since then is dedicated to reporting the persecution incidents in Henan, Shanghai, Anhui, and other regions.
Li Zaili (uses pseudonyms for security reasons), born in Xinjiang in 1982, went to the United States to study at the age of 16. After graduating from university, Li returned to Xinjiang and worked in journalism. In 2014, Xinjiang authorities started detaining large numbers of Muslims in “transformation through education camps.” Learning of that, he left his original position and began independently collecting and organizing information related to “transformation through education camps,” and submitted articles for publication in overseas media outlets. After Bitter Winter was founded in May 2018, Li Zaili became a special correspondent of Bitter Winter covering Xinjiang, Xizang and some other regions in China.
Lin Yijiang (uses pseudonyms for security reasons), whose ancestral hometown is Hangzhou, Zhejiang, lived in Spain with his family at a young age. His father is a human rights activist. Under his father’s influence, Lin Yijiang also began actively following human rights conditions in countries around the world, especially China’s harsh persecution of human rights. In 2016, in order to gain a deeper understanding of the persecuted groups in China, Lin returned to his hometown and became a freelance journalist, giving a voice to persecuted groups. He joined Bitter Winter in 2018 and became a special correspondent covering Zhejiang Province, Jiangxi Province, and some other regions.
Ma Xiagu (uses pseudonyms for security reasons), born in 1980, grew up in a Hui family in Ningxia and graduated from Ningxia University. All of his family members are Muslims. Although he does not believe in Islam, after witnessing the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) authorities’ repeated forcible demolitions of mosques and concealment of the truth about conflict-induced casualties, he began documenting the truth that he saw and submitted his articles for publication. After Bitter Winter was founded, he took the initiative to join and became a special correspondent of Bitter Winter covering Ningxia, Gansu, and other regions.
Marco Respinti is an Italian professional journalist, essayist, translator, and lecturer. He has contributed and contributes to several journals and magazine both in print and online, both in Italy and abroad. One of his books, published in 2008, concerns human rights in China. A Senior fellow at the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal, a non-partisan, non-profit U.S. educational organization based in Mecosta, Michigan, he is also a founding member as well as Board member of the Center for European Renewal, a non-profit, non-partisan pan-European educational organization based in The Hague, The Netherlands. He serves as Director-in-Charge of The Journal of CESNUR and Bitter Winter.
Massimo Introvigne (born June 14, 1955 in Rome) is an Italian sociologist of religions. He is the founder and managing director of the Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR), an international network of scholars who study new religious movements. Introvigne is the author of some 70 books and more than 100 articles in the field of sociology of religion. He was the main author of the Enciclopedia delle religioni in Italia (Encyclopedia of Religions in Italy). He is a member of the editorial board for the Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion and of the executive board of University of California Press’ Nova Religio. From January 5 to December 31, 2011, he has served as the “Representative on combating racism, xenophobia and discrimination, with a special focus on discrimination against Christians and members of other religions” of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). From 2012 to 2015 he served as chairperson of the Observatory of Religious Liberty, instituted by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in order to monitor problems of religious liberty on a worldwide scale.
Piao Junying (uses pseudonyms for security reasons), born 1970 in Jilin Province, China, graduated from Jilin Normal University. Following graduation, he was engaged in educational work for ten years. In early 2009, after noticing the serious human rights situation in China, he changed his career and became a journalist who independently reports on human rights issues. He has also conducted an in-depth investigation about China’s deportation of North Korean defectors and published a series of reports on the topic. Since the foundation of Bitter Winter in May 2018, he has been a special correspondent of Bitter Winter in Northeast China.
Rosita ŠORYTĖ was born on September 2, 1965 in Lithuania. In 1988, she graduated from the University of Vilnius in French Language and Literature. In 1994, she got her diploma in international relations from the Institut International d’Administration Publique in Paris.
In 1992, Rosita Šorytė joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania. She has been posted to the Permanent Mission of Lithuania to UNESCO (Paris, 1994-1996), to the Permanent Mission of Lithuania to the Council of Europe (Strasbourg, 1996-1998), and was Minister Counselor at the Permanent Mission of Lithuania to the United Nations in 2014-2017, where she had already worked in 2003-2006. She is currently on a sabbatical. In 2011, she worked as the representative of the Lithuanian Chairmanship of the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) at the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (Warsaw). In 2012-2013, she chaired the European Union Working Group on Humanitarian Aid on behalf of the Lithuanian pro tempore presidency of the European Union. As a diplomat, she specialized in disarmament, humanitarian aid and peacekeeping issues, with a special interest in the Middle East and religious persecution and discrimination in the area. She also served in elections observation missions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Belarus, Burundi, and Senegal.
Her personal interests, outside of international relations and humanitarian aid, include spirituality, world religions, and art. She takes a special interest in refugees escaping their countries due to religious persecution and is co-founder and President of ORLIR, the International Observatory of Religious Liberty of Refugees. She is the author, inter alia, of “Religious Persecution, Refugees, and Right of Asylum,” The Journal of CESNUR, 2(1), 2018, 78–99.
Languages (fluent): Lithuanian, English, French, Russian.
Shen Xiang (uses pseudonyms for security reasons) was born in Hunan Province and is now 35 years old. She is an independent journalist. Ever since childhood, Shen Xiang has had a passion for writing. After graduating from high school, Shen Xiang started writing novels, and her works have been serialized in local literary journals and received critical acclaim. Shen Xiang began writing a commentary column in 2012. In 2017, affected by the Liu Xiaobo incident, She became dedicated to writing various news reports on human rights issues in China. In June 2018, Shen Xiang joined Bitter Winter and became a special correspondent of Bitter Winter covering Hunan Province and other regions in China.
Yao Zhangjin (uses pseudonyms for security reasons) is from Chengdu, Sichuan. He was baptized into the Christian faith during his university studies. It was also at that time when he learned about the Chinese Communist Party’s persecution of Christians in China. Several times, he has witnessed believers being arrested. Yao writes about these incidents and submits his articles for publication in various overseas media outlets. Now he joins Bitter Winter and is a special correspondent covering Sichuan, Chongqing, and some other regions.