He was once a famous actor in China. Then, he converted to The Church of Almighty God and escaped religious persecution by fleeing to South Korea. The CCP keeps persecuting him even there.
by Jia Zhigang
A while ago, a CCP Website claimed that I had “disappeared” and was “controlled” by a religious group. It added that I do not care about my family and refuse to go home or pay a visit to them. As I was busy filming a human rights documentary, I didn’t respond to the fake news.
However, the CCP reached out for a yard after taking an inch. They once again spread rumors and defamation against me. Worse still, they coerced my relatives from mainland China into coming to South Korea for the false demonstrations against The Church of Almighty God, trying to persuade the Korean authorities to deport me back to China. I strongly protest the CCP’s repeated harassment of The Church of Almighty God refugees in South Korea and its slander on my belief. I decided not to keep silent, but to speak out for my fundamental human rights and religious freedom. It is time to tell the truth.
Being an Actor in China
I am a professional Chinese actor, who has appeared in more than 30 television series. I played the roles of seven emperors one after another, including Emperor Renzong of Song, in the TV series Young Justice Bao. My fans call me the “specialist in emperors.” I regard myself as just an ordinary actor. Those who know me personally may attest that I have an honest and frank personality. Actors live in a chaotic world, where it is not always easy to maintain values of honesty and integrity. But they remained my guiding principles.
Despite my successful career, I still often felt an emptiness in my heart. In the entertainment community, I have seen many celebrities who are bright and beautiful on the surface—but behind the scenes, they gamble, use drugs, and give free rein to their sexual desires; or they become tools for politicians, and live an exhausted, non-human-like existence. In order to seek the true meaning in life for my soul, I often visited well-known Buddhist temples in Qinghai and Beijing, and participated in Buddhist preaching and other religious activities. I often prayed for my career and the safety of my family.
While I was engaged in the filming of Towards the Republic, I received news that my mother was seriously ill. To take care of my ailing mother, I gave up my role. Up until my mother passed away in 2006, I had hardly played any roles, and gradually faded from the public eye.
My mother’s death left me, a middle-aged man, for the first time, in the deep grief of having lost a beloved one. I realized how fragile and short life is. A man’s life passes in the twinkle of an eye, and what awaits him will be illness and death. I wondered what the value and meaning were of living in this world, where we come from and where we are going. I visited several living Buddhas, but they failed to dispel my confusion.
By chance, I encountered The Church of Almighty God. Almighty God’s words solved much of my confusion. I found that Almighty God has disclosed the mysteries in the Bible that people have been unable to unravel for centuries. Almighty God has revealed many mysteries to humankind, including how God saves humans, what their destinations are, how God controls and manages this world, God’s judgment work in the last days, and so on. By carefully seeking and investigating Almighty God’s words, I formally accepted the gospel of the kingdom of Almighty God.
I was now a member of The Church of Almighty God. I started to participate in church activities such as preaching the gospel and attending gatherings.
In 2008, I was responsible for transporting church supplies in Beijing. I always saw a bunch of armed police with submachine guns in the tollgate out of the city, stopping and searching vehicles. Some brothers and sisters who performed the same duty as I had been arrested, some of them had even been tortured to death. During the time I teamed up with my church friends to preach the gospel, we were hunted down by the CCP police many times. One time in a village, we were targeted and surrounded by the police. Two sisters from the local church were arrested but I fled.
The CCP shifted the blame for the McDonald’s murder of 2014 onto The Church of Almighty God and launched the One-Hundred-Day Battle to start a nationwide arrest operation. Many brothers and sisters in the church were arrested. If I continued practicing my faith in China, I would not only lose my job but be arrested, sentenced and imprisoned. Without any choice, I decided to flee with my family members to a democratic country overseas to seek political asylum and humanitarian help.
Becoming a Refugee
In 2014, our family of three fled to South Korea. After arriving there, my family and I finally enjoyed freedom of belief. My son is also living and growing up healthily and happily here. I decided to continue my career. Apart from performing as an actor, I have also tried directing some gospel movies and documentaries that expose the persecution and violation of human rights in China. In the past, I gained my fame by playing the roles of emperors. Although human rights films do not receive so much attention and will not bring me fame and fortune, I am able to use documentaries to let the people of the world see clearly the CCP’s evil deeds of slaughtering and murdering Christians, and bring a ray of hope and light to Christians who have no human rights under the dark oppression they face. This is a just cause. I feel that doing these little things is far more important than my personal stardom. This kind of life is rich and meaningful to me!
Since 2017, Chronicles of Religious Persecution in China, the series of documentaries I participated in, have won awards at multiple international film festivals.
Harassed Even Abroad
However, the CCP did not let me and my wife alone but continued hunting and harassing us. Police officers from the National Security Brigade, the State Security Bureau, and the Provincial Public Security Department repeatedly went to the homes of my elder sister and my wife’s younger brother, to instigate and coerce them into coming overseas, and force them to join the false demonstrations, in an attempt to influence Korean public opinions and have us deported back to China.
The first farce took place in March 2018. At that time, I was filming in the church. Suddenly I got a letter from the Korean Foreign Affairs Police Department, saying that a Korean citizen had approached them, allegedly on behalf of my family. This person said that we, a family of three, were missing Chinese and controlled by The Church of Almighty God, and asked for the Korean police’s help to find our whereabouts. I could hardly believe what I was told. My elder sister knew that I came to South Korea, and after I came here, I kept in contact with her. Then how could she say that we are missing people? There must be somebody who pulls the strings with an ulterior motive.
In the middle of March, my sister came to South Korea. With the help of the Korean Foreign Affairs Police Department, she came to our church. When I met her, I found that two Chinese plain-clothed officers were with her. I told my sister about my situation: I was freely living and practicing my faith in South Korea. During our talk, I found that my sister could not express herself freely, as if she was controlled by someone. Without my agreement, the two officers took pictures of me and lied to me that they did so only to let my friends know that I was doing well. But later the CCP used the pictures against me on its propaganda websites, which by the way confirms that the two men who accompanied my sister were indeed security officers.
Meeting us, my sister could see that my family enjoys a free life in the democratic country of South Korean, which contradicted the CCP’s theory that we were missing and controlled by The Church of Almighty God. She then left and went back to China without any worries.
Later, I learned through my friends in mainland China that the officers from the police station of my registered residence in China had visited my family members. My sister came to South Korea to look for me, but not spontaneously. She was completely incited and manipulated by the State Security Bureau. Because the CCP bothered and disturbed her over and over, she had no choice but to come.
I’ve also got accurate news that, after my sister went back to China from South Korea, she was taken away by agents of the Ministry of State Security as soon as she got off the plane. I do not dare make a phone call to her, because I’m afraid that this will cause her trouble.
A False “Family Search Group”
But the CCP was unwilling to leave the matter at that. Once again, they extended their evil hand into the democratic country of South Korea. At the end of August 2018, the CCP instructed Ms. O Myung-ok (오명옥), a pro-CCP Korean activist, to organize a false “family search group” (with which the readers of Bitter Winter are familiar). 11 relatives of The Church of Almighty God refugees (including my wife’s younger brother) were taken by the CCP to South Korea. Led and manipulated by Ms. O, they staged a five-day false demonstration at the Blue House (Cheong Wa Dae, the residency of the Korean President), at our church’s premises in Onsu, and in some other places, on the pretext of “searching for relatives.”
On September 3, we reported to the police demanding to see our relative. Under the police’s arrangement, my wife and I met with my brother-in-law, and all of us were very happy to see each other. After knowing that everything was well with every one of us, we all felt at ease. When I asked him about how he came to South Korea, who had organized the demonstration, and why he searched for us in that way he, however, intentionally changed the subject.
From the file we got from the police, we found that my brother-in-law had claimed that his elder sister and I lived a happy life before believing in Almighty God and became unsociable, eccentric and indifferent to relatives after the conversion; that I didn’t go back to China to take care of my mother-in-law when she was ill, and also ruined my young son’s bright future. This was simply distorting facts and calling the white black. The report declared that we didn’t return to China to visit my mother-in-law when she was ill. As a matter of fact, she had already passed away before we came to South Korea, and my son receives good education in South Korea and is proficient at school.
I confronted my brother-in-law about this and asked him why he reported false information to the police. He denied being the author of the report without hesitation and told me it had been made up by the CCP. The CCP used my relative as a pretense to fabricate lies and mold public opinion. They did this in order to have us—these Christians who worship Almighty God freely in South Korea—deported back to China to be imprisoned and persecuted. That is their objective.
Another Hoax in 2019
From July 22 to 24, 2019, the CCP resorted to its old tricks and once again deceived and coerced China-based relatives of CAG Christians into coming to South Korea. Under the control of Ms. O, they held another false demonstration under the pretense of “searching for relatives,” slandering and falsely accusing the CAG Christians who fled to South Korea of being false refugees and asking the Korean government to deport them back to China. My brother-in-law once again appeared in the demonstration. This time, my father-in-law came with him.
When they first arrived in South Korea on July 21, my wife and I went to Incheon International Airport to greet them. My father-in-law missed his grandson very much. We proposed to go to my home together and having a proper family reunion, but my brother-in-law refused. Despite our insistence, he said they should go with Ms. O. They came to “search for relatives,” but when their relatives were right in front of their eyes, why were they unwilling to reunite with them? The answer is obvious. “Searching for relatives” was just a pretense. Holding false demonstrations and putting pressure on the South Korean government was the reason the CCP and Ms. O brought them here.
On July 24, led by Ms. O, the “family search group” stood in front of the church premises and loudly insulted and slandered our faith. My brother-in-law was among them. The slogans shouted by the “family search group” seemed to have been painstakingly arranged, and had little to do with reality.
I heard my brother-in-law deliberately shouting, “Why won’t you see me?” I was very surprised to hear these words, because from the moment he got off the plane, we had already met, and I had invited him to my home. Why was my brother-in-law not telling the truth?
As if the script had been prepared in advance, my brother-in-law shouted: “When your father was ill and dying, why didn’t you come back to see him?” This made me even more certain of my guess: everything they shouted had been carefully crafted by the CCP to create the illusion that we were “being controlled” and were “indifferent toward our family members,” to deceive Korean public opinion, and paving the way for the next step, having us deported to China.
Under the CCP’s control and indoctrination, the relatives continued to shout, insisting that there is no religious persecution in China. Their words bore a striking resemblance to the speeches of CCP diplomats. Only the CCP itself would say and believe such things. This is ridiculous! It’s a world-recognized fact that the CCP persecutes people for their religious beliefs. China is widely recognized as the worst country in the world for its religious persecution. It was the CCP’s persecution that caused me not to dare to go back to China to see my father one last time when he was on his deathbed. My heart aches every time I think about this.
It’s obvious that these family members have been manipulated or coerced by the CCP. Some church brothers and sisters who met with their families told me that, during their meetings, their family members displayed unusual behavior and acted in a highly suspicious manner. As soon as these brothers and sisters mentioned the CCP, or asked about the circumstances of their visit to South Korea to “search for relatives,” the family members became nervous, as if they were not at liberty to speak. Either they spoke in a hesitant, stumbling manner, or they simply didn’t answer at all—or even avoided the discussion by getting up and leaving. During the conversation, they all received messages and phone calls urging them to end the conversation quickly. It was obvious that they were receiving instructions from mysterious characters behind the scenes.
Although this farce that the CCP colluded with O Myung-ok to organize ultimately ended in disgrace again, the CCP does not intend to give up its conspiratorial plot. Ms. O and others shouted a threat: We’ll come again! We’ll come again in one week! This time, 20 people came. Next time, 50 people will come! We will come every month and every year, until we bring you—these people who believe in Almighty God—back to China.
The CCP’s sinister intentions have been clearly revealed. The CCP has used Ms. O to launch ten false demonstrations to harass and defame CAG Christians in South Korea. This is truly rare in a democratic country. I regard Ms. O as a disgrace to the people of South Korea. The campaigns she has launched on behalf of the CCP in South Korea are humiliating South Korea’s democratic system. They should be stopped.